In 1994 Béla Tarr made a film ,and after that the cinema wasn’t the same for me.It changed the meaning of " what a film, has to show " on the screen.
It’s a movie that I found almost unbearable as I watched it. We did a marathon screening with cups of tea and coffee and it was still a major ordeal to make it through that endless dance sequence.
I find that the further I get from that initial screening, the more in awe I am of such a supreme accomplishment in cinema. You begin to comprehend that Bela Tarr needed that amount of time to express the hopelessness and humanity of his story. And what an ending!
I have been going through and watching Béla Tarr’s films and finally got to this film. It is not quite my favorite so far (I’d say Damnation and Almanac of Fall probably are), but I did really love it and get lost in it. I think the opening shot with the cows is some of the most amazing cinema I’ve yet witnessed. I was hooked from then on.
The scenes with Estike abusing and killing the cat were some of the most difficult I’ve ever had to watch. I am very curious about that particular sequence, and whether that cat actually died. It would seem a pretty tough thing to train a cat to “die” on camera the way it did. Perhaps they just drugged it with some kind of downers, which seems more likely. Anybody happen to know anything about this particular scene?
according to Bela, the scene was shot under supervision of a vet and Bela later took the cat in as a pet.
Thanks for that info, Zak! Glad to hear it…
The scene was passed uncut by the British Board of Film Classification, which is as close to a guarantee that the cat was unharmed as you can get!
Legally, the BBFC has to pass all British video releases, and the classification process ensures checking that they contain no illegal material. The 1937 Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act bans the distribution of films featuring genuine animal cruelty staged for the cameras so if the distributor can’t prove (and it has to be prove, not assert) that everything was above board, out it comes.
I have yet to see the film, and am curious about it, but the cat business could really put me off – fake or not. There was a similar scene in Mishima where a cat is dissected – hated the scene, but understood its significance in the context of the film story. Is there any reason for this scene in the film? I have only seen Werkmeister Harmonies by Tarr, which clearly impressed me, but I might skip Satantango unless there was a serious dramatic reason for putting that scene in and it wasn’t just gratuitous cruely (even if fake), which I just can’t stomach.
Well, it’s gratuitous cruelty up to a point, since the character is gratuitously cruel – but there are contextual reasons for her being gratuitously cruel, so the scene itself isn’t gratuitous at all. (Tarr doesn’t really do scenes just for shock value, unless the shock is the realisation that you really are expected to watch the same shot of hundreds of people walking past the camera for several unbroken minutes).
Certainly, I didn’t have a problem with it, and I refuse to watch films like Cannibal Ferox on principle.
Thanks, Michael. I will give it a try and just get through that bit, and the overly long takes as well.
Does anyone know where I can buy the Satantango dvd for a cheap price?
That’s about as cheap as it’s going to get, Nathan. That’s about 25-30 US dollars.
I am about start the journey called “Satantango”…for now I am wandering through “Heimat”…
Does anybody know the estimated budget for W harmonies..or something around?, Tarr was concerned about the amount of money that they spent on Man from London, saying that he will never work again under those circumstances. But if you take a look a W harmonies, i dont think that movie was produced with more than 1 mill euros.