Satantango ★★★★★

Ahhh Satantango, Béla Tarr’s infamously long masterpiece. It’s kinda of become a meme in the cinephile community at this point, even though there’s way longer movies. You’ll hear a person say ‘damn this movie I’m watching is hella long’ and the other person would say ‘yeah well at least it’s not Satantango’. And everyone knows how critically acclaimed it is and how the rating is, but most people put this off because... well... it’s 7hours and 19mins long. And I can’t argue that without watching it, it’s quite off putting. Well, to be honest, it absolutely flies by, and it quickly won me over and I just watched and watched. This is absolutely flawless cinema, absolutely hypnotising, and it just draws you in like a goddamn rope, like Hitchcock making Rear Window or Vertigo, you just want to know and watch more and more and more until it’s over. This felt like a solid 3hrs and 30mins long because it was so hypnotic and so good. But still, 3hrs 30mins is still a daunting task, never mind 7hrs 19mins. Well, we’ve all seen Seven Samurai, and if you haven’t, you’re not a cinephile. And that’s 3hrs 20mins. I think you see where this point is going. This movie (just like all of my all time favourites, which it is now) unlocked a new flipping emotion for me. I never knew cinema could make me feel this... surreal. I mean obviously Lynch has made me feel... different... but so did this. I can’t wait until I rewatch this in one sitting. Sadly I didn’t have the time to watch in one sitting, 5hrs one night and 2hrs today. But just imagine the experience you’d have whilst watching this in one sitting... with headphones. When I get the DVD (which is coming on February 6th) I will 100% try and watch it with headphones in and in one sitting, because wow that would be great. Honestly, I’m surprised that this hasn’t got a Blu-Ray Criterion release, because it is literally internationally acclaimed, being one of the highest rated movies on Letterboxd, having a 8.4 rating on IMDb (which is very high for a 7hr B&W Hungarian film) and has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Honestly this is slow as films get. You get to the 3 hour mark, and they are still talking about Irimiás’ arrival, something they were talking about at the half-hour mark. I also love how this is (subtly) told out of order. Not too far in, we get this beautiful 5 minute shot of a person going inside a house and someone sneaking outside and standing at a wall. At the end of the scene we see a doctor looking at them through the window. At around the 2 hour mark, we start to focus on the Doctor (one of my favourite and most compelling characters in the whole movie), and the scene opens around the events of that scene. What I love about this scene so much is not just the uniqueness, but that the same events (but from different perspectives) are told almost 1hr and 30mins apart from each other. Any mainstream directors would’ve just had a 15/20 minute gap between them. But no, Béla Tarr takes it to a whole new level, which is absolutely ingenious to be honest. I also love the sound design, honestly the best sound design I’ve ever heard. I think Eraserhead may have better sound mixing, but the sound design in this is honestly phenomenal. But yeah, back to the doctor. I love how we end with him, it just works, ya know? The bells are absolutely haunting, it’s just a bit of a roundabout, the sound design/mixing is the exact same as it was at the start. Speaking of the start. Holy Lord does this have the most hauntingly peaceful and bombastic opening ever. Do you want to know what the opening is? A bunch of cows, as the camera slowly follows them round the  village as the cows walk through the grassy area, as the haunting music booms in our ears, setting us up for the dark and depressing atmosphere and tone we are trapped in for the next 7 hours and 19 minutes. Such an experience, just one of the very few movies I will ever consider perfect, but one of the many movies I calls a masterpiece. Just imagine if Béla Tarr got his way, he wanted this to be shown with no intermissions, just 7 hours and 19 minutes of pure, haunting, beautiful cinema. I cannot believe that this was actually made, one of cinemas biggest achievement, nothing like it will ever be made again. Tarr is an absolute auteur of the cinema screen, a man whose style  cannot be replicated and never should. I don’t see why some people say that Tarr is a rip-off of Tarkovsky; Tarr takes way more time on his shots and immerses us in the environment that the characters are hauntingly living in. Not to be mean to Tarkovsky though, nothing against the man, I just think Tarr is Tarkovsky for people with a whole Goddamn lot of patience. I felt like I was there with these characters. Every fight, every monologue, every line of dialogue, every walk, every conversation. And with the dialogue, comes unforgettable scenes. The scene at the young girl’s funeral has one of the most unforgettable and thought-provoking monologues in cinematic history - not like the whole movie isn’t those two things anyway. Another absolutely stunning and unforgettable scene/shot is where Irimiás and two other members of the village are walking in the forrest (about 5:30-6 hours into the film, near the time where they go to the town outside of the village where Irimiás’ companion eats bean soup) and they stumble upon an old wreck of a place. It’s all foggy, and Irimiás just stares at it for a minute, with the perfectly fitting sound design booming in the background. It’s haunting, unforgettable and something I will never forget. Another unforgettable thing about this movie (one of many) is the many scenes where that depressing accordion (type instrument) theme is playing in the background. If you want to listen, click HERE. The theme is one of my favourites and it is so haunting and it fits with the depressing theme and atmosphere of the movie. I could probably say a hella of a lot more on this masterpiece, one of the only movies I consider perfect. A masterful piece which never has and never will be replicated, just one of the greatest pieces of art maybe ever, especially in the form of cinema. I 100% recommend to everybody, an unmissable movie.

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