Satantango ★★★★★

Satantango completely trapped me in it’s world for the entire 7 hour run time with its technical mastery. The visual direction flows so slowly and with such elegance, it just hypnotizes me with each frame. Even the opening shot, which is a simple (but long as hell) one take of a herd of cows leaving an abandoned building and then roaming an empty town, keeps you enthralled as the slow, careful direction lets you look out upon the worn down setting. On top of that, the lighting works in conjunction with the black and white to create entrancing, expressionistic lighting, which harshly contrasts the light with the dark, and prevents us from seeing entire pieces of the frame until Tarr decides we are allowed to see. Not only this, but it helps create, in addition with the visual direction, the bleak and depressing world that entraps Hungary and its people. This world Tarr creates feels so atmospheric due to the technical mastery (and if you don’t know, I adore atmospheric movies). The film being so atmospheric additionally makes the world feel that much harsher and real. The bleak and depressing world becomes seemingly inescapable. Additionally, the setting even feels like a character itself. Maybe even the most important character, with it showing us the reality each person desperately attempts to escape from (whether physically or mentally). These failures to escape (due to exploitation and corruption) and the brutal reality of the world make the characters very cynical, and this cynicism invades every inch of the film. But that’s not to say the film affirms (or rejects) cynicism like I’ve seen others say. Instead, Tarr seems to be focused on just presenting the societal conditions that produce these bleak, cynical, nihilistic outlooks on the world. Which personally I find to be incredibly interesting due to how it’s handled.

I definitely recommend this to anyone who loves film if you ever have 7 hours to spare. Satantango is without a doubt a masterpiece.

Also quick side note: I usually have a rule where I need to rewatch movies before I can give it a 10, but considering the length of this film I’m giving it a pass and just dropping the 10 now lol.

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