Satantango

Satantango ★★★★★

98

I think that the most incredible aspect of the whole film (beyond of everything fantastic in it), is the way in which Tarr removes a tremendous evocative power from his images. It's a visual composition that does not end in itself, but that at the same time doesn't give in to the temptation to make everything explicit and didactic. In this sense, each shot has its own density that, within the atmospheric experience that the film provides, induces a particular type of thought. Even when the camera remains static, focusing on the same frame for several seconds, the underlying intention of this look is there. It's a game of forces that are always in conflict and at the same time mix. Forces that are constantly abstracting an existential sense from the narrative. In this sense, the wind, the darkness (the final scene is very significant in this sense), the constant passages of passersby on abandoned roads, reveal a very intimate relationship with this ruined environment that the film presents. The passages on these roads, too, reinforce this contemplative look at life, not only because of them (the passages) itself, but mainly because of the way Tarr positions the lens in front of this whole scenario. Here, the camera is, first of all, a witness that appropriates and at the same time judges all the human degradation there disposed. A world that ritualizes several allegories through a rigorous technique, but that is, at the same time, lyrical and symbolic. A world delivered to the clumsy and whose soundtrack is a funeral march that opens up human misery; this world in which not even the purest figure is saved from the cobwebs that mark this impious aspect of human nature. The fate of the child and his cat, in the film, are symptomatic in this sense. And thinking about this world-building, the difference between reality and fiction is blurred. Without falling into a fetish nihilism, Tarr shapes a brutal representation of human nature. A psychological study of the subjects' fears and beliefs, which uses the cinematographic language as a philosophical device of enormous magnitude, with the mastery that only Tarr can achieve.

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