Standard: HKD 120
Concession: HKD 96
One of the most revered works of Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr, Sátántangó opens with an eight-minute tracking shot over a dilapidated farm. It follows a herd of cows charging blindly through a nearby village while attempting to mate—an ingenious touch that foreshadows the farm’s demise. A swindler believed to be long dead returns with a scheme to lay his hands on the farm’s meager profits while clueless villages see him as their saviour.
Based on the twelve-section structure of an eponymous novel and inspired by the stepping patterns in tango—six advancing and six retreating steps—Sátántangó retells events from multiple perspectives. The farm’s fate is a metaphor for the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe in the early 1990s and conveys Tarr’s pessimistic view on our common human destiny. The shots in this seven-and-a-half-hour episodic film unfold timelessly in an innate natural rhythm. Acclaimed writer and critic Susan Sontag once stated she would rewatch this film every year.
The film will be screened with two intermissions.
About the Director
Béla Tarr (b. 1955, Hungary) began producing amateur films at the age of sixteen before being discovered by the Bela Balazs Studios, which funded his debut feature Family Nest in 1978. He graduated from the Academy of Theatre and Film Arts in 1981. Tarr is one of Europe’s leading filmmakers in the past four decades and a representative in slow cinema with his unique visual style. His works include Damnation (1987), Satantango (1994), Werckmeister Harmonies (2000), and The Turin Horse (2011). After his retirement, Tarr moved to Sarajevo in early 2012 and established the film factory programme at the Sarajevo Film Academy to foster a new generation of creative voices.
Image at top: Béla Tarr. Sátántangó, 1994. Photo: Courtesy of Luxbox