Satantango Box

Watching (a section of) SATANTANGO last night, I was moved to screenshot this image.

Director Bela Tarr (in tandem, one suspects, with Agnes Hranitzky, who was only later accredited as co-director but was with him since 1978 and collaborating from 1981, well before SATANTANGO was commenced) is more interested in composition than those very, very long takes might suggest. He can’t resist, at this point, a stagey one-point-perspective bit and a collection of complex shapes. I have this notion that his career progresses somewhat like Beckett’s, shedding complexities and adornments as he goes, in search of a final purified minimal form. Which Tarr does, in THE TURIN HORSE. He does not make another film after THE TURIN HORSE, because there are no Bela Tarr films left to make after THE TURIN HORSE. It is the final purification.

But look at all the shapes in this. The containers, and the containment. Binocular lenses, a fence, wires, window frames, window glass and net curtains. He may be in his home, but he’s standing there like a camp prisoner and all the elements make it clear he’s boxed and pinned and there’s no escape for him.

This year I am trying to watch and re-watch a lot more films, and am scribbling furiously in a small LOT 2046 notebook.

SATANTANGO (UK) (US – region 2 disc)