Satantango

Satantango

Watching Sátántangó is like reading Benjy's chapter in The Sound and the Fury: It's easy to appreciate and nearly impossible to enjoy.

An adaptation of László Krasznahorkai's novel, the film is much like a novel itself, being narrated and divided into twelve chapters. If the film were described as prose, it would be roughly two hours of story progression and five and a half hours of description, description, description. Tarr is well known for long takes, and in a two-hour film like Werckmeister Harmonies, I find his technique beautiful, but in the gargantuan Sátántangó, the individual takes begin to overstay their welcome. A few examples include eight minutes of walking cows, ten minutes of drunken dancing, and seven or so minutes of cat bullying. To quote LB user Fabian, it's as if "editing is a foreign concept to Tarr." I get the lingering effect—I really do—and I may be wrong, but I think Tarr could exercise just a tad more economy.

Anyway, Sátántangó is a gorgeous film. Sure, it tested my patience, and sure, my review sounds largely negative, but I'm glad I endured it. Like any of Faulkner's novels, Tarr's modern masterwork is meticulously crafted and will no doubt be studied for centuries.

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