Possibly inspired by the existential play No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre, this story about five people living in close quarters in a small apartment conveys the same angst as Sartre’s well-known story about the nature of hell.
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What a wonderful world it isn't, here as elsewhere for Tarr. Still, this film plays differently, being as richly colorful as it is emotionally claustrophobic. Essentially a chamber piece -- all of the action takes place in the same apartment, with the only hint of an exit being provided by the professor as he's dragged away by police -- Almanac breathes an air of Strindbergian despair. The devil is comfortable there.
More reminiscent of Fassbinder than any other work of Tarr's that I have seen. Beautiful artificial lighting illuminates the often jarring mise en scène (against the actors and camerawork). There is some terrific dialogue here - an element of Film that I usually despise - and also some beautiful and inventive compositions. Just misses out on 5 stars.
This film made me wonder why Tarr decided to work in B/W for the rest of his career, the style here is amazing, if there was one thing to frown on his previous works was the lack of polish in terms of visuals, and here not only he seems to take care of that but shows a genuine skill as well.
A peek inside the decaying existence of 5 people who had gotten off the tracks of life, with a setting that resembles some sort of purgatory and an ending that would make Freud truly proud.
This reminded me of The Exterminating Angel in some aspects, yet the characters here are made entirely of something else. I see a lot of influences from Tarkovski and Bergman in this.
Agree with below poster that this one reminds of Fassbinder more than his other work. Amazing use of color and I loved the "from the floor up" scene (anyone whose seen it knows what I'm talking about). In a way, I think this film was darker than some of his later work but that may be completely personal as how it struck me and the mood I was in.
Seems as though most of Tarr's more interesting works (though all that I've seen have a good level of interest) focus on the notion of dead people trying to come alive, and this is one of his most striking examples of that such idea. A truly beautiful and yet utterly painful, enigmatic, stylized film.