Friday, January 19, 2007


Lateral sculpture: Béla Tarr's Sátántangó
by Ryland Walker Knight

Time is relevant, yes? Art is a distillation of a moment or series of moments. Film art is a capture: the camera takes in light and stores it for future projection—the captured light is time. Film, as an art, is a means to represent the relative passage of time. The filmmaker's job, then, is to assemble a work from the most essential building blocks of story/life/events; or to whittle it down, eliminating the excess. This is the crux of Andrei Tarkovsky's film theory, which he famously defined in his book "Sculpting in Time". The filmmaker is a sculptor, wielding his camera as a chisel. It's a convincing study, and an appealing set of guidelines & edicts to follow in any art. Form must always reflect content, as conscientiously as possible: if the content is hollow, the form is irrelevant. If ever there was a brand of cinema that academia was meant to swallow whole, this is it.

Béla Tarr's seven and a half hour opus Sátántangó (1994) practices many "Sculpting" maxims, first and foremost in the way it represents the slow and subjective passing of time. ...

[To read the rest of the review, click here, and you will be forwarded to The House Next Door for the full article. Also, click here, to view the ever-expanding home base for the Contemplative Cinema Blogathon.]

01994: 434 minutes: dir. Béla Tarr: written by Tarr & László Krasznahorkai, from a novel by Krasznahorkai: Ágnes Hranitzky, "co-auteur".

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