CERTIFIED WEIRD: Béla Tarr’s Sátántangó (1996) is a masterpiece

The seven-hour myopic, nihilistic, and dystopian Hungarian masterpiece from Béla Tarr, Sátántangó, captures a moment in time closer to the actual reality of the situation better than almost any other film in existence. It’s painfully long and exhausting, by design, and doesn’t take any creative liberties off the table. It’s a film with so much pessimism embedded into its code that any other line of thought is almost impermissible considering the circumstance and lack of authority. The shared apathy of the characters towards themselves, others, and their dire circumstance is a danger to all and Tarr explores this utter disconnect from the reality, a pseudo-reality showing people for what they are, not idealizing a piece of this story. It’s disheartening, cold in the depiction, constantly raining that never ceases to stop, creating an atmosphere of distrust and egocentricity that poison’s the town. It’s an impossibly cruel seven-hour watch and hard to imagine the film conceptually, but is the one film, outside of a similar project in terms of length and story structure, Masaki Kobayashi’s 9-hour masterpiece The Human Condition, that authentically conveys what it means to be human and the human disposition. It’s a towering achievement in storytelling and I’m incredibly happy art like this exist in the world. … More CERTIFIED WEIRD: Béla Tarr’s Sátántangó (1996) is a masterpiece

The Slow Storytelling of Bela Tarr’s Sátántangó and the nihilistic outlook

The establishing shot has become a mainstay of Tarr’s filmography. A sort of unexpressed realism, where he’s unafraid to show the journey, in its entirety, from one point to the next. He won’t cut away from the scene until the subject has safely reached their desired location. It’s not a reprieve for the audience or the filmmaker, it’s simply letting the action play out as it happened. At times, this type of slow-moving transition has thematic and narrative significance, but other times it’s meant solely to have the audience suffer alongside the character for extended stretches of time. … More The Slow Storytelling of Bela Tarr’s Sátántangó and the nihilistic outlook