Sátántangó with Béla Tarr

  • Date: 28 December 10:30
  • Location: Filmhuis The Hague

A symphony in black and white, a master test of visual storytelling. Béla Tarr's seven-and-a-half-hour magnum opus follows the inhabitants of a Hungarian village after the fall of communism. Drinks, lots of drinks, and the rumour that the dead have risen take possession of the imagination. It seems almost impossible: a working day in the cinema seat, watching one and the same movie.

Yet that is what Hungarian director Béla Tarr (b. 1955, Pécs) demands of his audience, and this is not a problem proved by the lyrical reactions of film viewers and critics upon release of Sátántangó in 1994 and on subsequent re-screenings.

Tarr announced in 2011 that The Turin Horse would be his last feature film. Tarr kept his word - new feature films did not appear again. Eye Filmmuseum's re-release of Sátántangó (4K restoration) is not only a tribute to a classic of Eastern European cinema but also the chance to become acquainted with an exceptionally gifted storyteller-in-images.

Sátántangó is structured like a tango through the past and present. In twelve "movements," shot in long takes in an enchanting black-and-white, Tarr takes you to a sullen village in Hungary. The workers of the former collective farm are distraught after the fall of communism; certainties have disappeared, and what is left is the village pub, gossip and the terrifying suspicion that the dead will rise again... Sátántangó belongs with Damnation (1988) and Werckmeister harmóniák (2000) in a trilogy created in collaboration with Hungarian novelist and screenwriter László Krasznahorkai.

The films are a commentary on the fragility of human civilization; unexpected, threatening developments appear to raise the animal in man. The film is in Hungarian with Dutch subtitles.

Filmhuis The Hague

Spui 191
2511 BN The Hague

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