Language: Hungary; Screenplay & Direction: Béla Tarr; Based on the novel “Satantango” by László Krasznahorkai
Starring: Mihály Vig; Putyi Horváth; László Lugossy
Music:Mihály Vig; Cinematography: Gábor Medvigy
Year or release: 1994 & Running time: 432 minutes
When I heard this Hungarian movie of little more than 7 hours movie (432 minutes), I was prepared to be bored out of my mind and awaited the toughest endurance test ever. I had struggled to stay engaged with Gangs of Wasseypur (2 parts), Sangam, Mera naam Joker, Hamlet, Lawrence of Arabia and Once Upon a Time in America. But I found, to my surprise that ‘Satantango’ was actually one of the greatest films I had ever seen. No genre can define it; no other film can be compared to it. It is undoubtedly one of the most bold, original, richly detailed studies of humanity that has ever been put to print. So, firstly, is the length an issue? No, though mainstream audiences will say yes. There are a couple of scenes I thought could have ended sooner, but at these points it’s obvious that Bela Tarr wants you to be aware of time and your perception of it.
Scott Tobias at The AV Club called it “the Mount Everest of modern cinema,” and for good reason. This 1994 Hungarian art film is more than seven hours long and only consists of around 170 shots; the average shot length is about two-and-a-half minutes, with some shots in the film lasting up to 10 minutes.
In a strong opinion of realistic brilliance, this film uncompromisingly occupies the thoughtful space and the story stir the world of long floated communist Hungary. Based on a novel by Laszlo Krasznahorkai; the ‘Satantango’ breaks down into separate episodes. Thanks to the spellbinding effects of Bela Tarr’s consciously comforting direction.
This is the story of a farming community, all lost souls since communism has come to an end, shows existence in its purest form. Very true to the real life, and the audience absolutely do not do not lose the inch of the details. Here in the story, two mysterious figures from the past come with a proposition for the community to give them a new way of life. Eventually they are tricking the group out of their recently received government payout. This is all slowly revealed in 12 chapters that interlace and overlap in ways which makes ‘Pulp Fiction’ look like the simplest film ever made.
The most interesting depiction is the depth of characters. This feels like a charmingly crafted documentary more than a film. Each character is so lived in and pure, with so many distinctions it puts near enough every film, even the likes of “The Godfather “to shame. The camerawork and use of long takes is the most breathtaking element of the film. This film has fewer cuts than most 90 minutes films and has some of the most awe-inspiring cinematography I have ever seen. It really is a masterpiece. I cannot praise it enough, even though without a doubt, less than an inch of India will ever see it. what I consider to be, one of the most incredible pieces of art ever made.