A Visual Diary of Stunning Ambient Films

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Sátántangó

“With fewer shots than the average 90-minute feature, Sátántangó is a double tour de force— for the actors, as the camera circles them in lengthy continuous takes, and for Tarr, who constructs his narrative out of these morose blocks of real time. Krasznahorkai, whose subsequent novel The Melancholy of Resistance provided the basis for Tarr’s most recent movie, Werckmeister Harmonies, is a writer whose long sentences provide a prose analogue to Tarr’s mise-en-scéne, but Sátántangó is in no way literary. Because each cut is an event, the most banal incident can be expanded into something epic. The movie’s final shot, in which one character laboriously boards up his window, provides a superbly materialist fade-out.” —J. Hoberman

“Devastating, enthralling for every minute of its seven hours. I’d be glad to see it every year for the rest of my life.” —Susan Sontag

“Again, the film’s formal devices dominate. Some scenes, with their elaborate and slow camerawork and noises off-screen become exercises in visual experience and a sense of time in their own right, recalling the structural aesthetics of the Canadian sculptor and film-maker Michael Snow (for example in Wavelength, 1967). In one scene, a fly becomes a significant structuring element. Camera movement with its slow zooms and vertical movements, particularly when combined with music, plays a dominant expressive role.” —Peter Hames