Perfect in every sense of the word. Couldn't have asked for a better way to start this year.
Unbelievable experience to see this for the first time. The opening scene pulled me right into the film and for the next 145 minutes I was absolutely hypnotised. It is going to be hard to meet my expectations when I will watch Tarr's next film (The Turin horse) soon. This is without a doubt one of my all-time favourite films.
Tarr’s elongated takes are genuinely impressive; delving behind that, his nihilist (and later, anarchical) inclinations can be found steeped in innocuous interactions and guises, other times being espoused through theoretical esoterica - the philosopher - with both returning to the underlying backdrop of small town life and its minutiae, its vacuum. Quite striking, even if it never really leaves a greater, lasting emotional dent further than that.
100/100. Good lord, this movie. Bela Tarr achieves the perfect balance here between his sometimes alienating grandiosity and an aching sense of loss. A perfect film.
"All I ask is that you step with me into the boundlessness, where constancy, quietude and peace, infinite emptiness reign. And just imagine, in this infinite sonorous silence, everywhere is an impenetrable darkness."
I love art house films, black & white photography, and long takes but for me those things don't mean a thing if the story is weak and/or the characters are uninteresting. This film was both for me. The techniques were fascinating, mesmerizing at times but it literally lead to nowhere. Just a very cold movie with a lot of walking and pretty imagery. Other than I liked it, others appreciate the film more though.
A film made with the terrifying, portentous clarity and razor-sharp intuition of a dream.
Cosmic truths elude the common man as a small Hungarian community lurches toward unrest and revolution seemingly brought on by the arrival of a circus featuring a prince and a dead whale. Tarr's shots always linger a bit longer than one feels like they should, but the effect is intoxicating, creating a kind of poetry of the commonplace, often bordering on surrealism. Bears comparison to Tarkovsky.
Unfortunately, this film was a misfire for me. I went into it having recently seen and loved Tarr's Damnation and Almanac of Fall and was expecting something similar. It contains powerful moments undeniably, but they don't connect. It felt like a confused allegory that was bloated to the point that its parts deformed each other.
I saw it on dvd about 10 years ago and like you, was expecting "something"... and hated it. Didn't even finish it. I saw it in a theater last night and was overwhelmed by it. I agree that the moments don't connect and it's bloated but I believe that's intentional. Janosh/the professor are trying to make sense of things and to see beauty (a la the whale/harmonies) yet it all crumbles...
This film contains the single most startling and profound moment I have ever seen in any film. The discovery of the old man in the bathroom, has there even been (forgive my hyperbole) a more perfect and devastating metaphor for human existence?