This is the beginning of the style he would use until the end of his career. It features long takes and beautiful black and white photography. The film starts out in the narrative realm, and then becomes more about mood as the camera takes on some of the characteristics of the main character.
Despite the slow drawn out pace, Tarr has managed to burn the scenes of the film in my skull. This isn't a film where he explores a single theme, but rather he manages to give us a glimpse of a bleak, apocalyptic, and despiritualized world, plus some of the conversations were really interesting. Pure visual poetry at it's finest.
Baseless connotations; vague contextualization; self-styled omnipotence; Antidirectors avoid the meat of things, they call their cowardly mental fugue art, or pass it on further in the sheep Olympics of mirroring (Cannes, TIFF) as viable products. The notion of minimalism in film functions like that: merely a shift of representation from functional recognition to mimesis, dressed as an excuse for stylistic renewing.
"I sit by the window and look out completely in vain. For years and years I've been sitting there, and something always tells me that I'll go mad the next moment. But I don't, and I have no fear, because fear of madness would mean that I'd have to cling to something. Yet, I don't cling to anything. I cling to nothing, but everything clings to me."
I didn't get it. at times it seems like it's trying to be noir, at others an existential meta-romance. it establishes a structure only to abandon it completely. it's got a problem with balancing image with dialogue. it just feels like tarr was experimenting more than trying to make a concise piece, to me. it is a beautifully made film and has got such a spot-on ending, though.
I was a big admirer of Béla's work, until I rewatch this film yesterday and everything collapsed. Resisting until the end was a painful and boring experience. Why? Travellings and more travellings (always the same movement, very slowly and at first unfocused until get to the character), pocket philosophy and the most annoying music (like Straub said about this useful use, "one more brush").