Kárhozat, (Damnation)

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92%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 12

84%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,236
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Movie Info

Cast & Crew

Miklós B. Székely
Temessy Hédi
Bela Tarr
Director

Critic Reviews for Kárhozat, (Damnation)

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for Kárhozat, (Damnation)

  • Jun 30, 2015
    If Tarkovsky had made Wings of Desire, I guess it would look a lot like this, a bleak, formally rigorous film in which every single gorgeous shot is meticulously calculated, only it is too oppressive and detached as it observes a filthy loner who tests our patience with endless existential aphorisms.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 03, 2009
    <i>"You should realize that things have an order in the world and you can't do anything to upset it."</i> <CENTER><u>KÁRHOZAT (1987)</u></CENTER> <b>Director:</b> Béla Tarr <b>Country:</b> Hungary <b>Genre:</b> Drama <b>Length:</b> 116 minutes <CENTER><a href="http://s712.photobucket.com/albums/ww125/ElCochran90/?action=view¤t=Krhozat.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i712.photobucket.com/albums/ww125/ElCochran90/Krhozat.jpg" border="0" alt="Bela Tarr,Béla Tarr,Hungary,Damnation,Karhozat"></a></CENTER> The unparalleled direction style that characterized the graphic poetry and cinematographic mastery of the acclaimed Hungarian director Béla Tarr is seen for the first time in his ambitious and emotionally cathartic magnum opus <i>Kárhozat</i>, better known by its English title "Damnation". The first impression this masterpiece may give is that it stands for an existentialist representation that successfully accomplishes to mirror life itself. Perhaps it is, but it is also a reflection on the futility of materialism, the emotional escapism that religion may represent for some people, the importance of establishing priorities, the influence of external acquaintances and a direct slap to the cheek of the irresponsible man. With a landmark style of filmmaking directly inspired by the magnificence of Andrei Tarkovsky and the vision of Theodoros Angelopoulos, <i>Kárhozat</i> is undoubtedly one of the best dramas of the decade. A rainy, dark, depressing and muddy environment is the one that surrounds the main character Karrer, a man who has led an unsuccessful emotional relationship because of erroneous decisions. His existence would be utterly doomed if it weren't because of the existence of a place called "Titanik Bar". In there, a hauntingly beautiful singer performs every night. However, she is married, a detail that will cause Karrer to be determined to keep her husband away. With religious reflections and cathartic epiphanies, the main character will suffer a huge transition and his actions will unleash an unprecedented set of events. In 1988, the film won an European Film Award for Best Young Film. Fifteen years later, Béla Tarr received a France Culture Award for Foreign Cineaste of the Year at the Cannes Film Festival. The world of Béla Tarr is unforgiving, realistic and ordinary. Despite it being dark, depressing and rainy (like in basically the rest of his films), it is filmed with extraordinary aesthetic balance and cinematographic gorgeous awe. The characters share the same psychological characteristics. First and foremost, they are vivid incarnations of the daily living: confused, bored, imperfect, sinful, ambitious, surprised. A stunning use of black-and-white cinematography and hypnotizing, unusually prolonged takes emphasize their strictly human condition. The director has the magical capacity of creating an atmospheric mood of realism. It is this faithfulness towards life itself the one that destroys any possibility of the audiences' boredom, and the one that assigns certain degree of interest, uniqueness and relevance to the world depicted through a dreamlike, sometimes nightmarish scope. Just like any member of a society plays a certain role inside of a whole, each element, each drop of rain, each seemingly insignificant physical object inside the conventional sets and filming locations, has a particular meaning. They are just there for satisfying the eye, but all of them have a very characteristic uniqueness. The characters have the exact same function, just like in real life. Each living and inert entity is sharing a message, sometimes screaming it. A breathtakingly precise camera work follows the several events of the characters, mirros their internal psychology and reveales their most inner thoughts. With the remarkable aid of a wonderfully developed screenplay that contains several religious references, <i>Kárhozat</i> builds an impactful catharsis through the depth of the poetical dialogues, dialogues that assure that the path the main character is taking leads to ultimate nothingness. The pursuit of happiness is always expecting us to start it; what really matters are the means and the motivations behind it. <i>Kárhozat</i> contains Tarr's cinematic signature and began the collaboration between him and the writer László Krasznahorkai. The intention of the film was its intrinsic naturalness through a strikingly effective lightning that transforms the people into wandering ghosts of reality in search of a meaningful existence. The anticipation of personal plans and ambitions have always a drastically different outcome, a fact that is shockingly mirrored in what may arguably be the most awkward and least passionate sex scene ever filmed, irradiating the emptiess of Karrer and offering a brief glimpse so it can be used as an introduction for the imminent emotional destruction of the town. The inescapable, internal doom of the protagonist is shown in the most despicable, degrading, and yet accessible form when he starts to crawl barking to a dog and feeling triumphant after his victory against an animal. The conclusion is: we are animals also, only slightly more rational. Tarr is as impactful as an emotional bullet, and whereas his two absolute masterpieces <i>Sátántangó</i> (1994) and <i>Werckmeister Harmóniák</i> (2000) relied more on visual trascendentalism and philosophical material of surreal imagery and their influences on modern society, this grandiose little baby was starting to mature, becoming a masterpiece for the past century and a landmark piece of cinema. It is cinema of sounds, images, music and facial expressions... nothing more... 99/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Aug 14, 2009
    In "Damnation," a singer(Vali Kerekes) closes the door literally and figuratively on her affair with Karrer(Miklos B. Szekely), choosing to stay with her family. So, Karrer becomes so depressed that he turns down an offer to travel to pick up a package, claiming he does not feel like going anywhere, despite quite possibly living in the infamous Armpit of the Universe. Instead, he proposes that the singer's husband Sebastyen(Gyorgy Cserhalmi) take the job for 20% which would clear up their debts. With "Damnation," director Bela Tarr slows down the pace to create a sense that the characters are stuck in their predicaments without any hope of escape. This is especially true of Karrer who spends an awful lot of time looking at the aerial tram going past his windows. The only problem with this stylistic approach is that as often as it works(a slow pan around a bedroom), it just as much annoys. For example, no establishing shot should last a minute. And there are quite a few times when there is nothing of interest in the frame which leaves plenty of time for the viewer to get a drink, use the bathroom or work on the New York Times crossword puzzle.
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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