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Sátántangó (1994)

450 minutes of rain with a goulash soup in the break — Written by fungus on 11.03.2012

Well, what can I say? I finally managed to watch this cult and (already) classic movie. Thank's to a Bela Tarr retrospective in a Zurich cinema I could enjoy the the full 450 minutes in a cinema with another 100 people. Luckily, I got a place in one of the comfy sofas in the front and they served Hungarian goulash soup during the second intermission.
The movie is about the collapse of a collective farm in Hungary near the end of Communism. They are expecting a large cash payment for the work of one year and plan to leave as soon as they have the money. Some plot against the others and try to leave with more than their share. However, when the smooth talking Irmias, whom they thought to be dead, returns everything changes. They willingly give all the money to Irmias for the hope that he somehow can keep the community going.
My expectations were very high for this movie, since I wanted to watch it for quite some time, now. Fortunately, I wasn't disappointed. It took me about an hour to really get in the mood of the film but since then it was just like being in a world of it's own and I wasn't bored for a single minute. Yes, the movie is incredibly slow (the opening shot showing some cows lasts for almost nine minutes), but it is a strong way to show these monotone lives. Bela Tarr is not only a master of pictures but also of sounds. Most of the times I was amazed how much he told by only letting the right noises come from outside the picture range and repeating them over and over. Together with the slow camera movements and the minimalistic music by Mihály Vig the movie gets in some places hypnotic qualities. The movie also has a great cast. Peter Berling as the doctor is one of the best performances I ever saw in a movie. It was especially difficult for them, since it rains during almost the whole movie.
All in all it just was a fantastic experience. The movie is a true masterpiece. 10/10

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