Satantango

Satantango ★★★★★

I know a lot of people who would balk at a 7 1/2 hour film. Those same people would binge through a season of Breaking Bad in a single night. I understand Breaking Bad doesn’t have 10-15 minute shots where nothing happens (unless you count that episode where Walter chases the fly around the lab) but it is still a matter of being in front of a tv for a long period of time.

Like a tv series, Sátántangó is broken up into episodes. Unlike a tv series, it is meant to be viewed without interruption. I would have enjoyed watching it in one sitting but I just don’t have that kind of time to spare, so I broke it up into three viewings (none of which seemed nearly as long as they were). I don’t feel like my experience suffered because of how I viewed it, but I also wouldn’t recommend breaking it up into more than three viewings over three nights.

My mind wandered a bit during the long shots. I admit I looked at my phone a few times, but my thoughts were mostly about the film itself. I wondered if it would have been even half as effective if it was in color...I wondered if there was something specific Tarr wanted me to see or feel during those long moments...but mostly I just enjoyed being there. 

The little bit of hope in this film is false. The best episodes are the most desperate and disturbing. But I didn’t feel depressed. This film actually made me appreciate life a little more. I can complain about the current state of affairs but it seems a little silly in my case, while I’m laying on a comfortable bed watching an epic film from the comfort of my own home, knowing that when it ends I’ll be able to press a few buttons and watch another.

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