Satantango

Satantango ★★★★★

I think that’s enough staring into the abyss for one day. 

I’ve been looking forward to seeing Sátántangó since I first heard of Béla Tarr, and I’m so glad that I’ve finally found a way to see it. Like Béla’s other movies, Sátántangó is very slow paced and deals with heavy themes, but it’s also a lot more eventful than Béla’s other movies. Sátántangó is also surprisingly funny, although its sense of humor is almost as bleak as the rest of the movie.

There are plenty of symbols in Sátántangó, and one of the most prominent symbols being the character of Irimiás, played by Tarr’s longtime composer Mihály Víg. In my eyes, Irimiás’ control and influence over the villagers due to their fear and respect for him makes Irimiás a symbol for God, while their willingness to follow his orders despite losing everything that they have makes him seem like a false prophet. Irimiás’ character reminded me of Lancaster Dodd from The Master in some ways, although Irimiás is fully aware of the negative effects his actions have on his followers.

Sátántangó is easily my favorite movie from Béla Tarr, and it manages to be enthralling, dense, funny, grim, and even disturbing at times over the course of its 7 hour runtime.

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