Sátántangó (Satan's Tango) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sátántangó (Satan's Tango) Reviews

Page 2 of 9
½ April 30, 2013
I'll be honest, I didn't watch all 7 hours. I watched the first 3 1/2. I can't imagine sitting down for all 7 hours of this film. I appreciate Bela Tarr's masterful camera work which, in regards to angles and lighting, primarily sets the tone. And I appreciate the secondary causes of the tone, which are Tarr's poetic and cryptic dialogue as well as the idiosyncratic though convincing performances by the actors. Still, my patience was tried and I couldn't continue on for 4 more hours of interminable long takes and ambiguous weeping.
April 12, 2013
life is beautiful and grotesque by turns
13 4 2013
April 3, 2013
Can't wait to watch it now that I've got my hands on the
DVD all the way from Budapest!
½ March 7, 2013
I was surprised how enjoyable a watch this was. It is very slow, very tedious, and very long. But somehow Tarr immerses the viewer in a world of the poor and struggling and shady dealings that can be captivating and at times quite funny.
November 15, 2012
One of the greatest experiences I ever had in Cinema. Watching the 7-hour long silent epic Satantango kind of changed my opinion about cinema. Tarr has set an example of how powerful and limitless cinema can be and is....
Super Reviewer
October 22, 2012
yes it's worth seven hours of your life
September 7, 2012
Cinematic miracle of the 90's.A true masterpiece
August 29, 2012
You may balk at the length of this film, and I cannot blame you. I put off seeing this for years under the excuse that I really didn't have seven hours to watch a film in. Three hours, no problem. Four hours, meh, okay. Five hours, only if I'm really pushing it. But seven whole hours? An entire day dedicated to the lives of Hungarian farmers?
But this film understands the commitment we make to it. To call it an epic, is, I feel, inaccurate. The Birth of a Nation is an epic. Barry Lyndon is an epic. Those films take place over years and chronicle countless meaningful events in the lives of their main character(s). Satantango takes place, for the most part, over two days in the lives of these farmers. And because it's seven hours long and the lives of these people are about as interesting as our own (well, seriously) the attention to detail is immaculate. There are approximately eight characters, so we get a chance to know them and their lifestyle perfectly over the course of the movie.
And the reason for this is the same reason it's not an epic; we see meaningful events in their lives, but we also see meaningless events. Right near the start of the film we watch a woman go to the bathroom in a pan, in stark contrast to the beautiful shot of cattle that occupied the first eight minutes of the movie.
The only explanation that can be made is that Tarr wants us to actually be a part of the lives of these people, through their distresses and happiness and above all, their tedium. The reason approximately three hours of the film is dedicated to utter nothingness is that can you, seriously, say that you spend more than half your life actively doing something? Really?
It's a punishing work, to be sure. These are miserable, downtrodden people, and we have shared close quarters with them for seven hours. But their misfortunes are truly tangible, because their misfortunes belong to people who use the bathroom and drink and dance and walk and dream and yell and sigh and mutter and grumble and think and LIVE. Life is Satan's Tango, six steps forward, six steps back, and all we can do is occasionally take the time to think about it. I think that, for true contemplation of life and meaning, seven hours isn't too much to ask.
August 1, 2012
One of the greatest films ever made.
June 30, 2012
An epic of the truest sense: it is obsessively and meticulously crafted by a madman; its length, and pace, makes it unforgettable to some, unbearable to most; the subject matter is deafeningly political, grotesquely gorgeous, and darkly hilarious; and, of course, it is indescribably brilliant in every conceivable regard.
½ June 16, 2012
It took me longer than planned, but I finally finished watching Bela Tarr's seven hours and fifteen minute long "Satantango." Safe to say I have never felt more detached to the characters of a film. Another confession would be of "Satantango" coming to the mind whenever I will hear the word "pretentious." I certainly am very sure of my opinion, because like Kieslowski's ten hour long "Dekalog," my viewing presided more than three days. So much time was wasted with developing mindless and lengthy shots; scenes where two characters are sitting in a hospital bench, a young girl walking in front of the camera, a man walking in the rain, etc.; I saw absolutely zero significance in several of these sequences involving dull every day activities. There is a scene involving the torture of a cat that really bothered me, I guess you can say it was one of the maybe three sequences I had feelings for. "Satantango" is dead. I do not see "life" in the characters, the writing, or the cinematography. Sure there are some beautiful shots, but as the film goes on, I start to find it fake. As an example: A Godard, Tarkovsky, or a Bergman film will have sequences where it will be difficult to comprehend what's going on, but still I would have a general idea, I am still able to absorb a lot of the visuals and dialogues to try to capture what the director is trying to say. In Tarr's venture, the language might be dense, philosophical, or poetic; however I simply could not understand what the characters were talking about. It felt meaningless to me, really. Tarr uses one phony trick of creating a scene and then showing the same scene from a different point of view, while yielding a bit more scope. Like my experience with the script, I also did not appreciate any of the performances, they were as cold as you can get. I was unable to see any feeling or emotion in the eyes of the actors, underneath their mysterious appearance and/or actions. "Satantango" is the perfect representation of a director's failure to illustrate his ideas; it consist an ugly world and its people are even more hideous. My next and maybe last film of Tarr will be "Werckmeister Harmonies," which I have heard good things about. Hopefully it doesn't disappoint.
P.S. I don't see any similarities with Bela Tarr and Andrei Tarkovsky as I have read.
½ March 21, 2012
It has been said that if the viewer is to watch this film in one sitting, the impact that the story has created will be so much more powerful. To watch the entire 7 hour film separated in parts will not be any more of an impact than sitting through Requiem for a Dream, and shutting it off at the halfway mark. I am one of the lucky few to have sat down and enjoyed Bela Tarr's masterpiece for a full seven and a half hours (of course with a few short breaks in between). If there is one thing that will throw people off from this movie, it is its running time. For most audiences, it will be an ordeal to sit through. If the mainstream audience was ever to watch such a beautiful film in one sitting, they might go mad thanks to the director's pace, narrative, and impeccable use of tracking shots and slow movements with the camera. Yet what separates Satantango from other masterworks that are just as long, is that the story actually works with the running time. Films like "Taiga" by Ulrike Ottinger (8 hours), "La Commune" by Peter Watkins (5 hours) or even mainstream classics like "Gone With The Wind" (3 hours) and Ben-Hur (3 hours); they would got caught up in the moment and never sustained a true narrative for portraying a story with such a long running time. But Satantango is one of the most impressive films I have ever seen, for that specific reason. Not only does it keep a close eye on its narrative structure, but even as it is cinematically and dialogue driven, it will keep the viewer entertained with its beautiful tracking shots, and stretched screenplay.

Its story is fairly simple, and it doesn't provide us with a huge array of plot twists or big climactic moments. In fact, the film is rather anti-climactic according to most audience's descriptions. To truly appreciate this film will be a difficult task for many viewers, especially the mainstream audience. The main flaw that most viewers will notice right away is that it could be considered fairly tedious, and almost pretentious. The film is mostly focused on picking up the little details by keeping the scene the same for a long amount of time. Sometimes the camera does not move for at least 10 minutes, and the scene does not change for at least 30. Other times, the camera will use its tracking shots and capture the image as it slowly moves several inches over the course of a few minutes. A lot of the film also takes place while the character is walking along a long road/trail. Showing the protagonist's whole journey as the camera stays still, and the character gets closer and closer towards the screen. Its true flaw for that reason, is that it makes up so much time while that is shown. Yet it would only be considered a flaw for those types of viewers. What I saw, was the directors vision being portrayed flawlessly. In around 7 hours, I was able to pick up so much of the plot and little details than I normally would in any other situation. The short stories were more powerful for the strangest reasons. As I was able to picture the environment better, the characters were also able to shine through. Most everyone in the film had a moment to shine, and the tracking shots really gathered their full potential. As most cast members were shown as close to the camera as possible, the dramatic effect could play out very well. The performances set the mood much more than the direction, and it played out which way the story was going. Sometimes the film was entirely dramatic, other times it was disturbing to watch, and every once in a while the black comedy showed through and it was funny as hell. A film with so many genres packed into one, it is hard to decide what it was that you had experienced.

It will be a long time before I even think about watching this again. As much as I enjoyed myself, sitting in my room for seven and a half hours curled under my blankets, and staring at a screen is not my ideal vision of film-viewing. But overall, I was thoroughly impressed. I don't think I have been so impressed with a film since I watched "Les Enfants Du Paradis" or even "Belle De Jour". The film making it top notch. The cinematography never picks a bad sight, and the stories are especially fascinating when they are scrambled together through a chronologically mixed plot that overlooks a few of the previous scenarios through a different point of view. You will never get through 7 hours of video this fast. This is an innovative, imaginative, cinematically beautiful, and overall powerful piece of cinema. How can one do justice to such an epic. As a black comedy that can only be hailed as one of a kind, or as an imagery driven piece of powerful fiction. There's no way to tell, but there will never be any need to. What we are given is a typical film that is able to make use of the art it is qualified as with simple techniques, and moralizing short stories. But is it a good film? Of course... it may be one of the most exhilarating, and cinematically beautiful films I have ever seen. The art-house genre would be proud of such an experimental masterpiece. But for the viewers that are wishing for a more, fast paced and dramatic turn of events, this subtle piece will not be one for you. Fans of the art-house will approve rapidly. But the mainstream won't appreciate what it's trying to achieve.
March 3, 2012
postsinema hacım ;)
February 9, 2012
Hands down, one of the greatest films ever made. One of the few films that actually justify Cinema as an art-form.
However, it is recommended almost exclusively to either people who are catatonic, people who are studying\interested in Black Holes and perhaps to the few who are willing to dive into existential abysses.
January 23, 2012
A masterpiece of movie making.
October 18, 2011
A true movie masterpiece, at seven and half hours long you'll need a whole weekend to digest but well worth it!
October 2, 2011
Tied for my favorite movie of all time. If you are going to watch this then you MUST watch it in one sitting. If you don't then you will lose much of the impact.
August 28, 2011
Sure, no ones seen it. I mean, a seven hour movie? In black and white? In another language? Slow as hell, and in real time? I think this will be forever a forgotten work of art; and I don't mind being the only person I know who would watch it, but seriously; it is one of the greatest films ever made (though I will refrain from using the word favorite, it comes pretty close to the top, if not on the top)
½ July 17, 2011
Written and directed by Bela Tarr. Adapted from a novel, the movie if it can be called such ( it is so slow in places, it can hardly be called moving ) is more like a series of portraits. l came to this movie without knowing a single thing about it, l had no prior knowledge of it, l left it wanting those stolen seven and hours of my life back. This film will appeal to those interested in the technical side of film making, but the technical tricks do nothing to hide the lack of substance. l know in advance my views on this film will not be popular here, well popularity is not something l am seeking. Set sometime in the 1980's the movie has more the look and feel of the 1950's when Hungary was under Soviet control. Since there is little context given, l have to think this is a deliberate construct of the director, to remove the characters from any set time or place. The end result is that much of the film takes place in a featureless landscape, where the gray tones are unrelenting, just like much of the film, which l found tedious to the extreme. There are a few characters, but most of them are made out to be grotesque figures in hand me down clothes, whose only real past time is drinking copious amounts of alcohol, and falling over often. No one really works, there is no work to be done. It is as if they are all waiting for the Hungarian equivalent of Godot, but Beckett does not translate well it appears. The dialogue as such is sparse and contains few gems. One of the style devices used in the screenplay, is the repeating of certain lines, over and over. This is particularly annoying in one scene when that is all an old drunk does for about 10 minutes, over and over, while other characters are trying to speak. No one tells him to shut up, the characters keep on talking, even though he is just relentless. Many things about this film are also relentless. The rain being the most obvious. More than half the running time of the film is during the rain. Another relentless device, is the over use of tracking shots. Characters are shown walking great distances in the rain or the wind ( more on that later ) with the camera showing them walking the whole distance to where they are going. The most noticeable of these is perhaps the first shot of the movie, when cows are shown walking through a farmyard. The cows are quite loud and yet no people come to attend to them. After a while the cows get the idea that no one is coming, so they just wander off to wherever it is they were going in the first place and are never seen again. People are also shown in the same manner, walking everywhere, as there is not only a lack of people in the derelict towns depicted, but only a couple of motorized vehicles in the entire film. This lack of technology is one of the things that removes the film from any narrow context. The only thing that really can be used to date the film in any way is an electric type writer and that is not shown until almost at the end. A wind machine is also used, or in this case over used in a couple of scenes, to blow an absolute storm through the town as the camera follows certain characters down the deserted streets. A few times music is used on the soundtrack, but like much of the dialogue it is sparse, and the badly played tunes are repeated often, most notably on a Hohner piano accordion. At other times, some bells are used and they have an eerie, almost menacing effect. l say almost menacing as you would have to care about the effect of the bells first, but by the end of this film, l really could not have cared less. Yes the film has some neat stylistic devices, none better than when two clerks get together to rewrite an official report on the main characters, ( with some hilarious results ) where the camera circles twice around the desks of the two men, first in a clockwise motion, then it stops and does the same thing in reverse. Neat, but it does nothing to enhance our understanding or appreciation of the film itself, like so many of the other tricks used in the film, it becomes a self conscious aspect of the film that we notice more, because there is a lack of other things that would be of more benefit to the film itself, such as plot development, narrative, more decent characterization, or even a decent script. Perhaps this film was made to inspire us to seek out the original text. lf so it is an abject failure. There are no memorable characters, there is no one really deserving of any type of sympathy here or who commands audience interest. The whole film is a massive exercise in self indulgence. The end credits indicate that it took 3 years to make, that is about 2 years and nine months too long. So, what is so important or riveting that it takes over 7 and a half hours to depict ? The answer is nothing. Masterpiece ? Spare me.
Page 2 of 9