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Béla Tarr

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jenkins

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on: November 25, 2013, 12:45:58 PM
i was surprised as you are that there isn't already a béla tarr topic. maybe i don't know how to use a search engine? anyway

jared woodland and janice lee, who are working on a critical book about satantango (film and book), today began:

Quote
What follows is a collection of take-by-take notes on disc one of the film and the corresponding passages of the novel. (Notes on discs two and three are forthcoming.) Our time stamps are based on the Facets Satantango DVD (2008). Throughout the notes, we acknowledge differences between the novel’s content and the film’s content, as well as translation differences between the novel and the DVD’s subtitles.

http://htmlgiant.com/reviews/notes-on-satantango-the-book-and-the-film-part-13/

i imagine this appeals to people who've already seen satantango, and i hope that's a lot of people

examples

Quote
The camera (which has made an elongated counterclockwise pivot) is now at the other end of the hall, where the other clock is. A man comes out of the door in front of Irimias and Petrina and asks, “What are you waiting for?” This could be a question for any of the characters in Satantango; they’re all waiting. Funny that the man asks the only two who have some purpose and agency. Turns out Irimias and Petrina are on the wrong floor (Kafka!); the man leads them down the hall, toward the camera. Sound of heels.

[46:55–47:33 / page 25]

and

Quote
(In the novel, this is the scene in which Irimias and Petrina discover they’re on the wrong floor and in the wrong department. On page 30, they come to the right place.) An uncharacteristically cut-heavy part of the film, this section offers more exposition and anticipatory dialogue than anything we’ve seen so far. It begins with two leather chairs flanking a table. Behind the furniture there are dark wood cabinets, shelves. From the right side of the frame, a man enters. He’s wearing a blazer over his shoulders like a shawl, and he’s smoking a cigarette with his right hand. He moves with intensity and quickness—qualities none of the other characters have shown yet. The camera follows the man into a room where Irimias and Petrina are seated at a desk with their backs facing us. More dark wood. The man sits on the other side of the desk; he’s visible between Irimias and Petrina, who stand up. The man moves his right index finger from side to side, apparently to tell Irimias and Petrina to hand over their summonses. There are stars on his jacket’s epaulettes: He’s a captain. Irimias and Petrina put their summonses on the desk. After the men introduce themselves to him, the captain says, “Here, it all depends on what mood I’m in.” Reverse shot: Respectively, Irimias and Petrina look confounded and dumb. Back to captain, who asks why the men didn’t get jobs after they were “released.” He also mentions that they’re “under surveillance.” Irimias assures the captain that they’re on the side of the law; Petrina says they’re respectable citizens whose “services have been used for a good few years.” Incredulous, the captain accuses them of lawbreaking and villainy, says their lives have not been a tragedy. Some cigarette smoke comes into the frame from right. “Keeping order appears to be the business of authorities,” says the captain, “but it’s the business of us all. Order. Freedom, however, is nothing human. It’s something divine….” The camera moves in on the captain, who continues:

If you’re looking for a link, think of Pericles, [who says] order and freedom are linked by passion. We have to believe in both; we suffer from both…. But human life is meaningful, rich, beautiful, and filthy. It links everything. It mistreats freedom, wasting it. People don’t like freedom; they are afraid of it. The strange thing is there is nothing to fear about freedom. Order, on the other hand, can often be frightening.

Camera shows Irimias staring flatly as captain tells him he has “no choice but to collaborate” (my emphasis). Back to captain. Smoking, captain says Irimias and Petrina are outlaws and they know why. Looking down, presumably at their file, he says, “I don’t think I have to read the whole lot [of crimes?].” He tells Irimias he must work for him or he has no choice. (Seems he’s suggesting choice only comes from order.) Camera cuts back to Irimias; he stares at the captain. Camera is now back at the doorway, in the same place it was at the beginning of the scene. Captain dismisses Irimias and Petrina. They get up and walk toward camera. Captain stays put.

[49:50–51:18, 51:18–51:25, 51:25–52:01, 52:01–52:21, 52:21–53:49, 53:49–54:02, 54:02–54:32, 54:32–54:46, 54:46–56:08, 56:08–56:23, 56:23–57:29, 57:29–57:38, 57:38–58:18 / pages 25–36]

<3 this


Pubrick

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Reply #1 on: November 25, 2013, 01:14:41 PM
Seems heavy on literal description of what is happening on screen. More analysis and less telling us what we can se with our own eyes would be good.

I see this a lot in Kubrick analyses. People get caught up with describing what's on screen like they're talking to a blind person, it makes you feel like you're really engaging with the material but it's just a waste of text.

Keen to read the juicy bits though. The scale of this guy's work has probably put off a lot of in depth explorations into what the hell is going on. Sort of like with Barry Lyndon.
under the paving stones.


jenkins

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Reply #2 on: November 25, 2013, 01:21:30 PM
they're writing a critical book

today they presented an excellent article. i think you just skimmed it

Quote
Though the density of text in the novel (there are no paragraph breaks) creates a lack of a clear hierarchy of action or language, in the film we follow the camera’s cue, the camera’s gaze. As Futaki hides in the other room, we stay on his side of the door. A mini-drama unfolds on the other side, but we are prevented from being invested in that. Or at least our distance from the scene doesn’t allow for that kind of emotional complacency, at least not yet. We wait with Futaki. Even after Futaki enters the other side to retrieve his cane and exists for a moment in that other space, currently inaccessible to us, the camera chooses to linger here. The indifference of the scene, the door, the camera. Then, with the waiting, the textures of the wallpaper and curtains starts to take on a strange form, as when you stare at a word too long and it begins to morph into something unnatural.

[17:50–20:10 / page 7–8]


Cloudy

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Reply #3 on: November 25, 2013, 08:20:19 PM
Glad someone finally decided to make a thread.

In a week of a fever/massive headaches I've been watching Werckmeister on repeat in pure awe...Then recently moved on to The Turin Horse and I'm finding myself not sure what to make of it. The film's world is so one-dimensional, lacking a lot of the complexities of life...I compare a film like this to films that are on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, like sentimentally charged Hollywood films. But I can't argue that 100% because the cinematography was a force of its own in the film, and not just in an aesthetic way. There was something within the camera, especially in the fact that it never stopped moving. It never was standing, always on steadicam even in static shots. It was probably the most perceptive/emotional being in the film, which can add another lens, but I still can't completely ride on that. I read this little quote, an audience member asked Tarr "where is the hope", and he said "the hope is you watch this movie".
I want to see what other people thought of it, and the rest of his work, and here's hoping that Tarr wakes up realizing every day doesn't have to be like the last, and makes a fucking flamboyant color film next.
I still haven't seen Satantango, that one is next.

Bela Tarr's interviews are extremely interesting as well, because his outlook on life and cinema is completely unique, in a way that he doesn't even consider himself to be a filmmaker. It's reminiscent of Tarkovsky's Sculpting in Time...but not completely. And you can tell the difference.

Here's a really informative interview with Tarr's DP: http://cinema-scope.com/cinema-scope-magazine/interview-the-thinking-image-fred-kelemen-on-bela-tarr-and-the-turin-horse/

And here's a insightful interview with a critic who's the big fan of Tarr: http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.net/2001/09/bela-tarr-interview/

*Edit:*
This piece from Jenkins' quote embodies the beauty of Tarr's eye:
Quote
The indifference of the scene, the door, the camera. Then, with the waiting, the textures of the wallpaper and curtains starts to take on a strange form, as when you stare at a word too long and it begins to morph into something unnatural.
I think the word "indifference" here is something to take away from it. The camera acts as if any particle of matter contains the same amount of value and meaning as another, even morally speaking. Which gives us as the audience the opportunity to understand the infinite amount of beauty/shit around us that may be just as important/trivial as we are.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2014, 07:07:58 PM by Cloudy »


kkbngns

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Reply #4 on: November 26, 2013, 11:07:21 PM
Just wanted to add that Janice Lee also just released a book called Damnation, a response to Bela Tarr. Jared Woodland wrote the afterword.
http://themovierat.com/2013/10/03/book-review-damnation-by-janice-lee/
http://www.vice.com/read/everyone-is-a-plagiarist


jenkins

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Reply #5 on: November 26, 2013, 11:22:48 PM
are you going to say just that? maybe or maybe not but i like you either way. good surf

vice quote:
Quote
Damnation, a new novel by Janice Lee, is a great new creation in the tradition of directly growing your own organism out of someone else’s blood. Taking its title from the Béla Tarr film of the same name, the book opens with a foreword describing its relation to Tarr’s body of work—specifically his long shots, which is as signature a device to him as an arched eyebrow is to the Rock. Damnation makes no bones about the fact that it sets its world in Tarr’s cosmology, sharing many of his films’ thematic elements: God, love, violence, music, family, ecstasy.

And yet, if you weren’t told of the connection, you’d never know. The novel is comprised of dozens of small moving parts, each quite compact and simple. Essentially, the book follows the effect a cryptic holy book has on a small town. Shortly after it appears, it begins to drive the townspeople mad. The prose has an essential and timeless element, somewhere near the tone of early Cormac McCarthy and the novels of José Saramago, while also quietly subverting itself throughout using deceptively casual formal digressions like lists, clipped dialogue, monologue, fragmented dream imagery, and repeating threads.

an example of a fun thing about being interested in both literature and cinema is what happened there with the mentioning of cormac mccarthy and josé saramago in relation to the written style from lee referring to tarr's damnation. bountiful treasures, you know

(edit)
taking the excuse to write out a László Krasznahorkai sentence. two tarr movies are adaptations of his novels, and he's written with tarr the screenplays for damnation, the man from london, and the turin horse. this is from the melancholy of resistance, which was adapted into werckmeister harmonies. i think most people would say this and be met with eyes of critical gaze. if you don't already know, Krasznahorkai is respected in literature

Quote
He surveyed this endless, sharp, clear prospect and it shook him with with its supremely exclusive reality, shook him because it was so hard to see this world produced by his anxiety, a world of infinitely capricious reality had-for humankind at least-to come to an end, an end despite the fact that there was no end, and by that token no centre either, and we simply are, one element in the beating pulse of a space containing a million other elements, with which we harmonized and interacted with all our guiding reflexes . . . But of course on examination none of these things lasted longer than an instant as soon as the glimmering vision cohered it splintered in the blinking of an eye; it splintered, its significance reduced to that of a spark which perhaps did no more than alert us to the dying of the fire in the grate which glowed once then disintegrated, as if aware of the worthlessness of its existence, dying in a single flash of light if only so its brief intensity might illuminate everything he had regarded on the way home, in his fateful decision, in the moment of judgment by the gate, as a 'potentially fatal mistake'.
(184-185)


Cloudy

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Reply #6 on: July 25, 2014, 02:41:28 PM
Satantango last night. I really just want to be the person to tell everyone to fucking pirate it and plunge. I'm really really restraining myself from hyperbole right now, a cheap way of hyperbole I know. Ah FACK. Words will tarnish that experience.

*also I don't recommend anyone to watch ^that documentary in above post, I'm trying as hard as I can to erase it from my memory. Some things we shouldn't know.


Just Withnail

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Reply #7 on: July 25, 2014, 03:43:55 PM
Satantango last night.

Evening becoming night, night becoming morning, or perfectly squeezed in between 00:00 and 07:00?

This is film is an absolute masterpiece, but the full experience is of course the big screen one.


jenkins

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Reply #8 on: July 25, 2014, 03:50:46 PM
there is (of course?) a shirt for having seen it theatrically in los angeles



Cloudy

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Reply #9 on: July 25, 2014, 04:26:51 PM
I heard about that from a friend Jenk, what's funny is that it went by ridiculously fast (I'm sure you know). Literally bowing to the screen from beginning to end. For some reason it's a film that you just sit upright Indian style for 7 hours. I'd actually say it went by (way) faster than Turin Horse.

JW, we started it at 19:00 ended at 2:00ish (lightness to darkness, but always within light from the screen and a candle (that never went out)). The second it started I immediately wished I was in a theater, but desperate times take desperate measures, and that was still one of the...........

Satantango viewing diet regimen: A huge vat of coffee, 2 wine bottles, and a small dinner of sausage, potatoes, and lentils. No other way.

*you know those films where one sound outside of the film can ruin your experience? This is not one of them. My apartment complex was constantly barking, laughing, screaming in the periphery and it only just added to the film. This film isn't an escape but rather a mirror.



jenkins

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Reply #10 on: October 15, 2017, 03:30:36 PM
it's disappointing me that i haven't seen all of his movies, i fully blame distribution channels. along an internet path today i bumped into the ending of his Almanac of Fall



jenkins

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Reply #11 on: October 01, 2019, 03:55:07 PM


4k restoration. opens October 18 in NYC, home release in 2020. with some filmmakers it can be debated what the best film is, i think this is obviously Tarr's best


Just Withnail

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Reply #12 on: October 02, 2019, 04:51:46 AM
Go. See.

The restoration is gorgeous. This film is a religious experience to me.

I wrote a think a while back about what Tarr's films feel like to me:


under construction, completely in ruins

an impression of Béla Tarr's cinema

I went to this movie alone, so my thoughts as usual flutter all over the place. To: should I have gone today, am I really in the mood? Did I drink enough coffee? Too much? I’m in debt. I shouldn’t have fun when I’m in debt, I should only be in misery and try to fix the problem. Maybe I am fixing the problem right now, somehow, here in the cinema? No, don’t be stupid. Anyway, is Béla Tarr “fun”? I certainly love watching the films, but is it “fun”? ...Okay, here we go, the light is dimming. Contrasts and colors weaken around me, everything is dark for a few seconds before the frame comes to the rescue and focuses my attention.

On wind and rain. The weather seems like a constant, satanic force against the people we meet in Tarr’s films, and it flows over their decaying buildings, breaking them down slowly.

The people huddle up inside the buildings and play music, which seems like their way of taming the wind, forming it into units of controlled sound - melody and rhytmn being weapons against the windy, chaotic qualities of the air outside. The wind might crash against the buildings and its chaos mock their symmetry, but the music mocks the wind right back.

Still, a silent, heavy terror of meaninglessness is always nearby. People are sometimes merely abstract chiaroscuro carvings, thin lines of light constrasted against an oppressive black void. We float past both these people and these voids, not lingering more on one or the other, the symmetry or the chaos, but float past a face into a building into grain, a body into the void that now fills our vision.

We float right by them as they mutter “why and how?”, and into a void that accentuates the distances between the minds, and propped up between them we find: columns, darkness, never-ending walls, never-ending speech, their very own faces. Propped up between the people are their very own faces, impenetrable even when their features are clearly discerned. The void isn’t always a dark patch contrasted to an abstract face, but as we stare at these fully lit faces for extreme lengths of time the void becomes the face itself, immediate, apparent, right there, but unknowable.

These faces have creases like craters where the rainfall hit, sharply delineated foreheads that are perpetually furrowed from walking in the wind (this wind that would sculpt delicate shapes from these jagged faces were they only to stand still, but outside they always walk).

Inside, their eyes are ever-fixed at something unspecific and suggest a constant barrage of thought. The environment only catches their investigative attention fleetingly, before they fix again and pull their attention back inwards, to exactly where we cannot go with them, back to their unending thoughts. There is an intense feeling of being outside people who are unknowable in all their silence. Unknowable, even when they do speak.

A man has walked into a room, and the weather is with him. The wind captured in his lungs is formed into rhythmical pulses of sound designed to be received and decoded by the other minds in front of him. He speaks. A face describing habits, formulating incessant plans, consoling and bidding. Reflections and projections. Attempts to harness the wind, to tame and ridicule it, to reach out to another face that it never quite reaches.

“I’ve grown old. I sit by the window and look out completely in vain. On what do we base our belief? Nothing is stable and I am going to leave. You know that I love you. Plodding, plodding, how I am plodding! Your problem is that you see things from your angle. I am not attached and dependent. I can’t give up and I won’t give up. I will be a winner. Get away from me. Something always tells me that I’ll go mad the next moment. I’m a god-awful coward. May I have a tango? All stories are stories of tango. Could I have a cigarette? For such an old friend, under construction, completely in ruins.”

Never-ending speech, until the speech does end.

And then silence. But these people are in constant opposition, and they prop up against this: A drink. Or a dance. Moving, partly to a rhythm given you, to a feeling of harmony (the tackled wind), partly to the satanic, windy impulses of your mind, going with the chaos instead of against it. A desperate cling to another mind who desperately clings back, who looks you in the eyes, drunk on alcohol, love, lust or all of it, and who hovers in the vicinity of your mouth, hungry to feel perhaps the best defence against the chaos: communion.

Until, again, the inevitable end. Ever reappearing: the inevitable rain, the wind again unhinged, and you walk.

And walk, and you walk, and you find your own rhythm in the step, and you think. About what lies beyond the unending fog, and you might as well look down and inwards, as up. Think about the other person, who is blocked off from you. About my own lack of ability to communicate. About why I always shout and how habits are no goddamn excuse. About habit and circularity. About possibilities of escaping myself, about “I promise I’ll change, but you have to help me” and about how I am dancing with the narrative now and feeling intense bursts of meaning and a feeling of truth that is independent of the meaning of the whole, but exists right there in the moment – the stretched out real-time moment that carves an oasis for itself and me in the midst of the momentous narrative, moments that are part of a whole, but so far apart in time that their connectedness seem subservient to their intense present. Yes, I remember that scene, I loved that scene, but that was the beginning of the film and I was a different man then. I find this hope in Béla Tarr: that though everything inevitably decays, it can seem long-lasting.

Now the mock-finality of the cut-to-black. The steady wash of external impulses that has had such a defining impact on my flow of thoughts weakens. A whispered thought flows around inside me and mingles with my after-image of the narrative and says that was intensely beautiful. Another says sit differently. Surpressed thoughts push back, wish for space now that there is no frame to hold them back. I am still in debt. I’m a little horny, strangely. The whisper-thoughts accumulate into a steady cacophony, and ghosts of the ghosts of worn walls and people who sing or are turned around in dance, and who walk or sit and sit and repeat and “why don’t you love me?” are chased further back in my consciousness by the light coming on in the room. I can still see them but it takes a little bit more effort, and I turn my head for the first time in hours. My neck exists. As does the intense red of the curtain in front and the voices of people behind. Where is the film now? There, he is still walking. But with the voices in the room around me, and a certain expectation, and I am suddenly, intensely, here. Hello. It’s sometime in 2012. Mr. Tarr has been handed a microphone, so we can all find a focus and channel our thoughts one last time before the doors open and our minds melt together with the wind. I see only Mr. Tarr, I am in the front. I am wondering what I have just seen, what it adds up to. It was beautiful, but what does it mean? I am wondering if I should ask something.

Mr. Tarr’s face can be deceptively like his characters’ faces. The beard, the length of the hair, his stare. But at times all this melts, and he gets a wonderfully warm and boyish look that is nowhere to be found in his films (and for some reason it makes me happy that this is the case). This appearance is held, and he speaks to us warmly about his films, until a  disembodied voice washes over me from the back rows, hungry for elucidation from this authority.

“Mr. Tarr, in your films, what does the rain mean?”

The screws tighten up.

“It means it’s fucking raining.”

//

It's also here, with gifs.