The scene in which the camera is positioned below the characters' feet was the idea of cinematographer Sándor Kardos. A special sheet of glass was made for the shot which was tested by stunt men before the actors stepped on it. Because the camera couldn't move properly under the glass a huge mirror was positioned in front of it and the cameraman filmed the image of the mirror instead of the actual set. See more »
Almanac of Fall is a series of dull, open-ended one-on-one conversations between a handful of people living in a large house. Each of these people is absolutely miserable, mostly because they all have contempt for one another. The rare times when any individual seems to exhibit any tenderness towards someone else it's inevitably shown to have been an attempt at manipulation, usually in some back-handed attempt at making money off the old woman who owns the house. Violence breaks out several times but it's rarely any more toxic than the conversation.
This film is pretty obviously influenced by the stagy chamber dramas of Ingmar Bergman: every last shot is of the interior of the house. Fortunately, Tarr manages to transcend this influence and make the film his own. No possible camera angle is left unexplored; in one memorable scene the action is shot from below with the use of a glass floor. This is apparently the only color film Tarr has ever made and he took full advantage as he used a multitude of brightly colored lights to give the action a garish intensity. Tarr took inherently uncinematic, dialogue heavy material and transformed it into a film that takes full advantage of the unique possibilities of the medium.
This isn't a film that I enjoyed on any level but I can't deny the artistry with which it was made. For fans of Bergman and/or Tarr's other films this should prove to be quite rewarding.
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