Film Account’s review published on Letterboxd:
Today was the day… today I finally watched Bela Tarr’s 1994 7hr long film. Sátátangó. All the reviews I saw were straight up 5/5s. I thought it would not be as good as everyone said but, what a surprise… Sátántangó is Sátántangó, perfect between its imperfection. I was told that this film was slow, visually stunning, and lots of adjectives that described it as a masterpiece, and I repeat, it is. I have thousands of words to say about the film, but I’m speechless. The balance on those situations forms a tango, Life is a big Tango, conformed by good situations, and bad situations, all of them taking you to the same place, death, an end, a black space of nothing, as you will see reflected on the film. There were three scenes, that I will share my thoughts on, scenes that excede the magnitude of millions of words, without actually having to speak by words. Of course, the soundtrack, the main theme being one of my all time favs, if not my favorite. And how bela Tarr applies camera techniques without the film changing its slow paced mood. The film consists of 7 and a half hours of stunning shots, life lessons, symbolisms, references, and everything that a film could ever dare to have. Every shot tells a different story, apart from being unbelievable well shot, and designed. Sátántangó’s beauty it’s unparalleled, no other film could ever dare to create such a depressing, and captivating atmosphere… how can a film be so good? Damn, unbelievable… This is the only film I’ve seen from Mr Tarr atm but he’s already one of my favorite directors of all time. His talent, his originality, and his way to capture the essence of life itself, the passing of time, and all the essential themes and metaphors that are introduced to the film, makes him such an amazing filmmaker. There’s a sequence shot where Irimias and Petrina are walking forward, while all the garbage Thrown on the street, move forward with the wind. Apart from being one of the most beautiful shots on motion picture history, it’s one of the deepest… you could be hours talking just about that shot. I mean, it’s imposible to capture all the essence of the film, since you would have to watch it millions of times, because every second, tells you hundreds of stories…
Apart from that, if you tell me that Sátántangó is the best film of all times, I wouldn’t disagree. I will agree, and shake your hand, because you’re right, Sátántangó is the best film of all times. This review doesn’t do justice to the film, no review does. But I want you to check Edgar Cochran’s review, which I’m sure is one of the best film reviews I’ve ever had the honor to read. And finishing this spoiler free section, yes, it has the best cinematography ever seen in a film, or one of the best without a doubt, the pacing is perfect for the story, the writing and montage plays with you as with the characters, so you learn with them. Sátántangó is a must watch, without a doubt.
*SPOILERS FOR THE GREATEST FILM OF ALL TIMES*
Every scene is perfect, and every single one of them tells hundreds of words without saying them, but there are a few that I will give my thoughts on, because they particularly gained my atention.
#1. There’s a scene where the neighbors are dancing a tango, having a good time for the first time on the whole film, and outside the building, there is the little girl, looking thru the window, moments before dying, and with her life destroyed. These too situations happen in a distance of meters, in the same house, the same moment. It’s a tango, good moments, and bad moments, as life itself. I really loved That scene and I want to hear your thoughts on it, because it’s really unique, as the rest of the film.
#2. There’s a scene, where Irimias, Petrina, and the little boy were looking at a big building, surprisingly big. Then a lot of horses came and began to gallop in circles. Then Irimias, Petrina, and the boy start walking, walking forward with a fixed course. The camera moves and they look as small as insignificant ants. The horses as well but a little bigger. I interpreted that scene as: The human think it’s perfect, because he thinks he know what he wants, and whats good for him, the animals, are just animals, who are there to live, and die. The building being insanely bigger that them, represent how we, humans, think we are important, big, massive, smart, unbeatable, but at the end of the day, we are just little creatures that one day will no longer exist anymore.
“Man is a slave to its freedom”
#3.The ending. As I have been saying, the tango of life, only takes you to one place, death, darkness, nothing, forgotten, non existing. And I think this ending is one of the best endings ever to be recorded, because it solidifies what the film has been building.
Also, the scene with the dead cat… damn, it really broke me. I love the way Bela Tarr tells you the story, because it makes you learn as the characters do. He puts a scene and then puts other scene explaining why did it ended up like that. This film is really an experience, the ultimate film experience.
These statements are just my opinion, as you can have yours. But it would be a pleasure for you to comment on your opinion on the film.
*END OF SPOILERS*
This is the longest review I’ve ever wrote, for the longest film I’ve ever seen. Sátántangó deserves it. This is the film I’ve been looking for, the search is over, the best film of all times, is finally here, I mean, it was here back in 1994 but the world couldn’t assimilate how Sátántangó, a Hungarian 7hr film, it’s the best film of all times. No one could ever compare, neither Tarkovsky’s poetry, Fellini’s love for humans, Bergman’s faith testaments, Fritz Lang’s visionary masterpieces, or any other directors work that has ever grabbed a camera.
I really don’t know man… like, I’m sure that I only got to know a few percent of all the life lessons, and symbolisms the film has. But even considering that, it’s the deepest film ever made, perfect. I mean, 8 1/2, stalker, and persona (my top 2,3,4) could never dare to even try to compare against this film. How can a film be so good man please. Flawless. The best film of all times. I know I have said that Lots of times, but, man, what do you want? at the end of the day, I’m just telling the truth. I hope one day people begin to appreciate the masterful work that Bela Tarr let us have back in 1994. I’ll rewatch this film every year of my life… and im sure that I’ll like it even more every time. And I’m no film critique, or expert, but Sátántangó Is just the best piece of film ever crafted, and the best cinematic experience I’ve ever had.
I’ll keep updating this review because the more time passes, the more I love it. It’s weird because now I feel like I’ve no films to watch, even tho I have thousands of films to watch… Damn… Sátántangó… why are you so perfect…
I can’t put into words how much I love this film, or how much I love the best motion picture ever to be recorded.
Thanks for reading this review.