Sergi 💐’s review published on Letterboxd:
“The sun rises to give birth to shade"
One of the most draining but rewarding experiences I’ve had while watching a movie ever. Sátántangó is a film that’s infamous for its ludicrous 7+ hour run time, and even though it’s a rough journey to watch in its entirety, Béla Tarr’s remarkable direction manages to make every one of those 432 minutes count.
It’s one of the bleakest depictions of the human condition that you will find out there, one which is without hope and littered with rain and mud with a faint echo of church bells ringing in the background. The images and their compositions are consistently rich with detail and depth for you to explore during every scene which are mostly filmed in long takes. There’s something inherently poetic about the way he frames the subjects in question that always alludes to a greater sense of purpose that accentuates the emotions occurring onscreen at the moment that culminates in creating an extremely effective visual language. Mundane objects and landscapes hold the same importance as the characters onscreen as shown when the camera lingers moments after a scene has ended giving the space in question time to breath.
“Who dares to sing here?"
There’s also a deep understanding rooted here about the physical and emotional weight we carry as human beings. We all fight our own battles in private and only recognize a fraction of what others are going through any time we interact without ever truly being able to understand one another completely. These emotions are translated to the way we move and think, and by meticulously following these characters on their journeys we begin placing ourselves in their shoes in a way that transcends the screen in a way very few movies have been able to achieve (clearest example of this being the doctor and the way we are able to feel his presence by observing him alone in his home).
We are merely ghosts in this journey following their every move in the shadows, eternally doomed to walk into the rain for hours at night. Darkness looms in every room despite how much light might get through the windows. Only by drinking to the point of passing out are we able to escape our realities for moments at a time.
“I wanted to shout but I had no voice"