Satantango ★★★★


To me, the question of whether or not a film warrants its runtime flies out the window when it surpasses a certain length (not sure exactly what length, but 7 1/2 hours definitely crosses that threshold). The 4K restoration is breathtaking, amplifying Béla Tarr's damp, colourless world, forever coated in a blanket of rain.

But I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't periodically bored out of my mind by some of these endlessly gorgeous yet lethargic shots. It didn't hit me in the same way as something like Jeanne Dielman, because with that film, the expressed purpose is clearly to bore you, whereas here I feel like Tarr was aiming for something more ethereal and poetic that just got tedious here and there.

Maybe it's because I couldn't attach myself to any characters, who all felt like the supporting cast of a Lars von Trier film, except instead of actively trying to ruin the protagonist's life, they all passively wallow in their own shitty attitudes and unkempt facial hair. (I get that the unlikability plays into Tarr's message, but it still ends up partially as a handicap.)

I can't lie though, Sátántangó's ending, while just as plodding (plodding, plodding...) as the previous 7 hours, really does wrap up in a satisfying way, and I'm ultimately glad I can now count myself among the elite few who've sat through this entire odyssey of monochromatic nihilism!

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