Sátántángó: Part One
1994 may have been the year of ‘Pulp Fiction’, ‘The Lion King’ and Jim Carrey’s trailblazing run of ‘Ace Ventura’, ‘The Mask’ and ‘Dumb and Dumber’. However elsewhere in the film world an alternative and equally influential film story was being told, in the form of Hungarian master Béla Tarr’s 7+ hour behemoth Sátántangó.
Tarr’s epic rendering of Laszlo Karsnahorkai’s novel, about the decline of Communism in Eastern Europe, is a unique and visionary masterpiece that defies classification and transcends genre. Set in a struggling Hungarian agricultural collective, a group of lost souls reeling from the collapse of their Communist utopia face an uncertain future, until the arrival of a charismatic stranger in whom they believe lies their salvation. The collective’s individual experiences and fates are gradually revealed in Tarr’s immaculately composed, brilliantly photographed and bleakly comic tour-de-force, which confirmed his place as one of contemporary cinema’s few genuine auteurs.