Satantango

Satantango ★★½

Original Title: Sátántangó
Year of Release: 1994
Genres: Drama
Director: Béla Tarr
Writers: Béla Tarr, László Krasznahorkai, Mihály Víg, Péter Dobai, Barna Mihók
Main Cast: Mihály Víg, Putyi Horváth, Miklós B. Székely, Erika Bók, László feLugossy, Alfréd Járai, János Derzsi, Irén Szajki

Sátántangó is not a film you watch, but experience. It's not a film you enjoy, but witness. It is the ultimate cinephile art house masterpiece, the type of film that, once seen, puts you among the elite movie watchers who can brag that they have watched a 7-hour long Hungarian art house movie.

This being my first Tarr film, I was really interested to see what his style was. For the first hour or so, I was loving the film: stunning long takes slowly immerse you into the stories of the people inhabiting a small village, and the sound design and little to no editing were making me love the film. However, the longer it went on, the more the novelty of what I was seeing started to wear off.

Sátántangó ended up not being a particularly engaging experience for me. When watching something this long and this slow, you almost have to adopt a mindset of "Might as well go with it and give in to the director", but around the 3 hour mark my mind started wandering around and I lost almost complete interest in what was happening after that. It then became a thug of war between interesting sequences and mundane moments of daily life, with my interest constantly awakening and disappearing every 20 minutes or so.

I am quite infamous among my friends and family for being "that one guy who watches those weird boring movies", but I draw the line of what is acceptable at this film. It's impressive from a technical level, the story has a multitude of different meanings that are deeply rooted into Hungarian culture (and it's even told in non-linear fashion), and it's crazy that something this long manages to be cohesive and interesting. But I would be lying if I said that, for lack of a better word, this was just boring. I am glad I have experienced it for myself, and I would honestly recommend to every cinephile out there, but I unfortunately wasn't able to be engaged by the plot and atmosphere for the entire runtime like so many did.

Oh, the scenes with the kitty being mistreated by the girl deeply bothered me, shocked no one else has talked about them.

Story: 5.5
Directing: 8.5
Cinematography: 10
Acting: 8.5
Sound: 9
Visual Effects: 9

ENJOYMENT: 4.5
BORINGNESS: 7

PARENTAL GUIDANCE
Violence & Gore: 3
Sex & Nudity: 3
Drugs & Profanity: 1
Intensity & Horror: 3

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