Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Appreciating Sátántangó

How do we appreciate Béla Tarr’s Sátántangó as a film that has been a hit since it first premiered in 1994? One could argue that the film encourages an element of modernist cinema. Besides being over the top of its limit, the film is very extreme yet radical in its style. So, from that, it removes its boundaries to question the definition of cinema itself. Despite this, Tarr’s radicalism fills a long marathon of films, having obvious commercial distribution difficulties.

We will be watching the screen for seven and a half hours. So, it requires a vast investment and effort. Such a viewing experience goes against the logic of comfortable entertainment in mainstream commercial cinema. Otherwise, fast-paced contemporary Hollywood is digitally oriented yet action-packed. As such, the film is more than a simple experiment in both narrative and style.

In all aspects, it’s a self-proclaimed extreme counterpoint, putting a palpable spin on it. Still, we can pay for it. It received the Age d’Or award at the Brussels International Film Festival and Caligari at the Berlin International Film Festival in the same year. Many critics and academics continue to attend special screenings.

Tarr’s Style and Expressionism

They wrote a lot about this epic film, which is extraordinary for a black-and-white low-budget Hungarian screen. Apart from having a little plot, it develops at a slow pace. Yet, the film became a cult classic in the emerging global art cinema scene. Likewise, since New German Cinema first appeared, it speaks of the slow erosion of experimental cinema in Europe. Nevertheless, it does not only return the fringes of contemporary international cinema to a pessimistic prognosis for art films.

Although Tarr’s style aligns closely with those of Jim Jarmusch, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Reiner Werner Fassbinder, all of his films display the narrative aesthetics of modernist cinema. However, tensions between complicated economics of social position are also familiar in avant-garde cinema. In studying Sátántangó, German Expressionism is a crucial topic in the film. In history, German Expressionism represents the pinnacle of Berlin’s technical vision.

It produced stunning masterpieces after WWII. After the world faced an emotional crisis and financial collapse, the cinematic backlash in Europe was behind. At that time, Italian neorealism appeared and played a role as a form of expression that was so sad but powerful. The effect creates a cathartic effect, turning into a new move at the most inopportune moment.

Referential Art of Cinema

Despite having lasting effects, new branches of filmmaking are sure to establish their trademarks together with sheer experimentation. It would have resulted from a significant filmmaking twist and a successful flop. In the end, cinema becomes an almost referential art. It pays homage to the beautiful silence of the Soviet Union thanks to Tarkovsky. In addition, the film-noir genre will offer black-and-white art across the UK and the US.

Cliches but a melodramatic touch indoctrinates the audience itself to belong to the Golden Age of Cinema. While combining all those elements in one feature film, the cinematic bowl scattered audiences wholly before the new millennium bows down. In 1994, cinema witnessed the best forms of art and expression passing away as life itself. Tarr fills one of the longest-running averages of any film.

Apart from being one of the most feature-length films that the director has ever made without separating episodes, the shooting of frames throughout the duration confirms that a giant who is so skilled appears at the right time. The motivation and the goal in Tarr’s mind were the most obscure thing left. He has the right to avoid giving any explanation.

Hungarian Cinema

Visually, Sátántangó takes place in a remote Hungarian village in the 1980s. All residents wish to receive cash payments by starting a personal life journey. With material support, greed naturally becomes a comprehensible characteristic of the human ego. Therefore, they even planned to receive an earlier amount of money. In the future, the film establishes the recognition; it is competent.

People than that have never precisely recognized the genius of the director. Until its effects, it proves to last for decades. The film provides the unconditional yet best cinema experience. Tarr did not fully recognize the striking brilliance and poetry that governed his mind. As with Alejandro Jodorowsky, hardly any other knowledge can surpass epic prowess. It’s a colossal surprise that the film does without pretense but is very slow and repetitive.

Unlike Jodorowsky, he doesn’t know whether his work is inferior or not inferior. Tarr, on the other hand, is an expressionist. We might say that he describes the time relativity of the human condition and life. By pooling emotions or thoughts, people can create concepts or processes during which each frame of consciousness is independent of specific actions. While privately thinking, no one can see the world nor understand their mentality.

The Mental Attitude

In essence, Tarr urged the world to see life as him. So, his mental attitude was beyond correct. By considering such aspects, the consequences can fully express their vision. Nevertheless, the language of cinema is the way they use it. Including another extraordinary director, he tries to translate it through pictures. Rather than that, Federico Fellini combines images with dialogue. However, Tarr uses frames like pictures and succeeds in making the audience see life itself without confirming such goals.

Even a soulless sensation, it forms the premise of Sátántangó unambiguously. The consequences are very likely to hypnotize the audience tremendously through its visual style. Instead of paying attention to the plot, Tarr inevitably pays homage to the approaches that cinema created before the film. Every hour, it takes us from one resident to another. A resident gets an opportunity to live the village life that the residents hold.

He watched from a different perspective. Usually, a nostalgic sensation fills the venues, one of the divine opportunities Tarr himself has to offer. Appropriately, it weaves the story together and demonstrates a superior force acting with the sole intention of fate. As a result, it gathers confused and selfish souls.

Influential Piece of Filmmaking

Each character will go through the same situation, suddenly disappearing psychologically but slowly fading away. Intentionally, each character reflects the people whom the cinematic audience recognized. We feel empathy to create a cathartic feeling that is frightening and even devastating. Loneliness, arrogance, or greed led to catastrophic results. The perspective character corresponds to one of each character’s flaws.

At its core, life is life; we can’t escape it. Gábor Medvigy, the cinematographer, created the most stunning visuals in film history. Besides the attention to detail not being overdone, the technique follows the character at length. Thanks to Tarkovsky’s influence, it emphasizes the stillness of a balanced take. As Scorsese and Van Sant did, the film becomes an influential piece of filmmaking wherever we look.

The question is, does cinema in which a character looks up at the sky without knowing what he is thinking is to reduce the psychological side of the human being himself? Does that include glorifying the spiritual qualities that set everything apart from other films? In short, the threads can be grueling for us to see. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t see it. A bit strong when it sustains the weight in a chain reaction and series of events.

Replica of Control

We can feel these tiny details and will create our retrospective who watches it by being a replica of reality itself. A truth that convinces audiences to be a colossal tribute in classic films. Little detail after detail praising the five senses; the film binds in its wisdom is not the only thing we have to glorify. Likewise, when it involves a symmetrical construction from various angles, between aspects, it forms part of the path that we walk daily.

Ultimately, empowerment and the human condition destroy the character, symbolized in a scene where a charming little girl torments a cat in psychic and physical forms. The lack of control or independence from other creatures or people makes the cat face the same destiny that the girl decided. However, she took courage from witnessing the suffering and actions that could involve lower beings suffering the same fate.

It makes a difference because of how degraded the city is. The reason behind her motivation stems from her constant deception and shattered illusions. Yet, it pushes a vital element in the conclusions of other future Tarr films. Children become a symbol of the original innocence; humanity possessed before the surrounding society misled them.

Universe Epiphany

The doctor experiences a religious epiphany, showing the village’s destruction in every last sequence. Each character has an epiphany, both surreal and memorable. The film’s title comes from the series in which it is made or shot. The villagers eagerly await the arrival of one of the characters while everyone dances in their drunken stupor. Thus, Sátántangó has a universe of synthetic, mediated by film cameras that function at the human eye’s level.

Despite being unable to provide a reliable interpretation of reality, the film uses repeated references in the act of seeing. However, the actual gazes of the characters are mostly neither focused nor indifferent. At the very least, it’s foggy; but it’s hard to tell what the characters are looking at it. It Determines the overall nature of the perspective in the film. It describes the angle the film uses as transcendental in the whole speech.

With certain caveats, Tarr’s transcendence is painfully slow, as the title would suggest if not Satan. Indeed, gaze does not lead to knowledge or action. In a specific sequence, there is no acknowledgment that we rely on; however, it inspires us to respond in kind. Nevertheless, the camera is at odds with the extent to which the protagonist appears passive or active.

The Gaze

Often, it remains static as the narrative principles of classic films will follow the movements and actions of the characters. Such positions and film perspective approaches have semantic parallels in recurring motifs. When characters stroll aimlessly, mostly looking out the window. They settled forward in a way that unfocuses. More or less, it points toward the camera and assumes the principle of realizing the automatism or inertia of the story’s characters.

In many references, Tarr enhances the sense of mediation to optical devices. Partially transparent materials interfere with or enhance a clear view. For example, flies perched on the camera lens, glass on the window, rain falling on the texture of the curtain or window, and the lens on the binoculars. Thus, Tarr does not narrate the film from the point of view of a transcendental observer.

Instead, the narrator acts as human as the doctor who becomes the existence of its powerful body. Neither inertia nor automatism does not play the role of insensitivity. However, it is also not very compassionate. It makes the film the true meaning of the term. Variations of the human condition, too human, make the doctor a spectator. Not that he plays the author who appears at the end.

Far Cry

In shifting weight from one activity to another, we can see it as a classic example of visual translation from one semiotic system to another. Thus, looking directly at the object of interest interferes with the composition of certain shots. Often, this involves semi-transparent materials, jets of water, or glass barriers. There are many instances where attention always diverts the protagonist passively across a vast landscape with no lucid purpose.

This shift of attention to the landscape that exists through a window or still life is a far cry from Tarkovsky’s shot of spilled milk. Tarkovsky’s films have motion pictures and phenomena, acting many like sound recordings with painstaking care without a visible source. It refers to the existence of transcendental entities or parallel universes. Inversely, Tarr’s films offer more of a look away in response to human shortsightedness.

On such occasions, the phenomenon that keeps the camera captivated provides a kind of general summary of the stalemate in the world. The images reflect a definite way of thinking in which we see melancholia. It plays as a kind of sloth and passivity.


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