Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Gábor Balogh, János Balogh, Péter Breznyik Berg, Imre Chmelik, György Cserhalmi
Director: Bela Tarr
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
DAMNATION is the film that first brought universal acclaim to Europe's most daring filmmaker, Béla Tarr. His films are notable for long takes and atmospheric cinematography, and DAMNATION seethes with the director's existe... more »
Another masterwork by one of the greatest filmmakers today..
Grigory's Girl | NYC | 07/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love Bela Tarr's work. It is reminiscent of Andrei Tarkovsky, even though it's Tarr's own. He does not copy Tarkovsky, but simply has much in common with him. This ranks among Tarr's best films. It takes place in a depressed mining town, where a man is attempting to get away from the town with the wife of a friend who he's having an affair with. The plot really isn't what matters so much in Tarr films. It's not what he says, but how he says it. It's in black and white, and it's very leisurely paced. The takes are long and meditative. It has a melancholy feel to it, much like his magnum opus Satantango, and his later masterpiece, Werckmeister Harmonies. Another great film from the mind and soul of Bela Tarr. When you see a Tarr film, you see the whole world in it. Every film of his has that aura of greatness, or close to it, similar to that of Kubrick, Tarkovsky, Bresson, Bergman, Dreyer, Herzog, Lean, etc., etc.. Not many directors can make that claim today (though many do). Only Lars von Trier and Alexander Sokurov fall into the aura of greatness territory with Tarr. Tarr's the real thing...
Well, I'll Be "Damned"
Alex Udvary | chicago, il United States | 09/06/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Bela Tarr, is, well, his films are, shall we say "unique". I suppose that's a kind way of putting it.
Tarr is the kind of filmmaker whom you either love or hate. I've heard people call him pretenious and boring while others praise him as a master storyteller. A director of uncompromising vision. I think it says a lot that his films are able to provoke such strong feelings on either side. He's obviously reaching out to people.
Bela Tarr's films are usually compared to Andrei Tarkovsky for their long uncut camera shots. Their slow, methodical pace. But we could also compare him to Theo Angelopoulos or Michelangelo Antonioni. But these aren't sufficent comparisons in my opinion. I'd rather put Tarr in a class with directors such as John Cassavetes or Maurice Pialat. Tarr's films are not really as abstract in a sense as Tarkovsky or Antonioni. Tarr's films are about people. He works outside the Hungarian film industry. He shoots films in black&white. He doesn't show pretty countryside images. It's like Italian neo-realism in a way. Tarr is using his surroundings. He movies seem to be made on the most basic level.
"Damnation (Karhozat)" was made in 1988 and brought universal acclaim to this director. It is an atmospheric piece about a man, Karrer (Miklos Szekely) who longs for a married woman (Vali Kerekes) a singer at an unbelieveable depressing nightclub.
She tells Karrer she wants to stay with her husband and child, but Karrer cannot accept this.
There isn't much else going on here. The film's storyline didn't impress me as much as the cinematography and the film's pacing. I didn't even realize how fast the time was going by as I watched the movie.
The cinematography is actually rather simple yet memorable. It effectively gets across the film's theme of desperation. Tarr's camera doesn't make any grand gestures. He starts with an image and then pans the camera either to the right or left. Usually depending upon which direction it moved in the last scene. You never start a scene with the camera moving in the same direction twice. It's just a film rule.
Another thing one has to notice about the film is the absense of sound. We mostly hear rain. Tarr through his sound pattern is also getting across the idea of bleakness. Everything is empty. Tarr places characters in the background while the camera stays far away as we see these characters as small pieces in a larger landscape. It presents a distance between us (the viewer) and the characters within their environment.
But, how many people will really care about any of the points I've made? Tarr is not a mainstream director. His work is for filmbuffs, art house fans, and perhaps, Hungarians. His work is not as "conventional" as Istvan Szabo. Tarr is showing us a different Hungary.
Are their flaws with this film? Of course. Plenty as a matter of fact. The ending is disappointing. I felt it offered no real conclusion. Many scenes seemed rather pointless. Other scenes go on way too long. But "Damnation" managed to win me over. You have to embrace the film's flaws and all. The cinematography and the atmosphere really won me over. Where others may see a slow, boring film, I say Tarr's decisions with the camera and pacing perfectly fit the main character's mood and mindset. It's a challenge, but, people should make an effort to see this film.
Bottom-line: Atmospheric art house film from one of the most uncompromising filmmakers today! Bela Tarr's work takes some getting use to, but, his work has a way of getting under your skin if you give them a chance."