One night Maloin, a switchman at a seaside railway station situated by a ferry harbor, witnesses a terrible event. He is just watching the arrival of the last ferry at night from his ... See full summary »
A large, claustrophobic apartment is the setting for this intense chamber drama. In this dense setting, the inhabitants of the apartment reveal their darkest secrets, fears, obsessions and hostilities.
Miklós B. Székely
An innocent young man witnesses violence breaks out after an isolated village is inflamed by the arrival of a circus and its peculiar attractions, a giant whale and a mysterious man named "The Prince".
Plotting on a payment they are about to receive, residents of a collapsing collective farm see their plans turn into desolation when they discover that Irimiás, a former co-worker who they thought was dead, is coming back to the village.
Revisits of locations on the Great Hungarian Plain - the puszta - that were used in Tarr's Sátántangó and Werckmeister harmóniák. Recitations of short lyric poems by Hungary's national poet Sándor Petofi. The film is shot in color.
"Kárhozat / Damnation" tells the story of Karrer (Miklos B. Szekely), a depressed man in love with a married woman (Vali Kerekes) who sings at the local bar, Titanik. The singer has broken off their affair, despite her profession of love for him. She wants to improve her life. She dreams of becoming famous, but she herself embodies all of Karrer's hopes and dreams. Karrer is offered smuggling work by Willarsky (Gyula Pauer), the bartender at Titanik. Despite his lack of other prospects, Karrer tries to haggle with Willarsky over his take. Karrer eventually decides to offer the job to the singer's husband, Sebastyen (Gyorgy Cserhalmi), who has fallen on hard times. This gets the husband out of the way for a while, but things don't go as Karrer plans with the singer. There's a big, drunken dance, which everyone in town attends (though one demented soul prefers to dance maniacally in the rain outside). Afterwards, one betrayal falls upon another, leaving Karrer in despair, alienated from... Written by
Ulf Kjell Gür
The film that launched director Béla Tarr into international attention, Kárhozat is the Hungarian's first major investigation of the nature of humanity.
Trailing the exploits of alcoholic depressive Karrer, Kárhozat presents us with a view of a desolate and decrepit Hungarian town. He spends his days wandering from bar to bar, obsessing over a married lounge singer and part-time lover whom he longs to elope with. Passing off a job to collect a package to the husband, he buys himself three days alone with the object of his desires.
As is now his trademark, Tarr brings us the minimal number of shots: slow, winding, thoughtful and beautiful. His approach is simultaneously simple and complicated, showing us at the same time nothing and everything. The aesthetic of the film is astounding, beauty created wonderfully in the chaos and destruction of the landscape. The brooding intensity of the omnipresent coal trains dominates the work, an indicator of lost industry and decline. Miklós Székely leads the cast with the perfect stoic facade, his granite face holding back the weight of an emotional past and the crippling need for escape. The sinister and critical bartender gives us Karrer's true opinion of himself, one he would rather not face up to, whilst the sagacious old woman provides the film's sensibility and reason. The plot itself is not so important as the camera's journey and the character's silent ruminations, leading unavoidably to a wonderful climax and one which does exactly what it should: causes us to question our own lives and the oddity of humankind.
With beautiful, paced, unconventional direction, Tarr gives us an intimate portrait of ourselves and our world. Achieving an incredible amount with a minimalistic approach, the film is entrancing, mysterious, and inspiring. Telling us as much with his landscapes as with his characters, Tarr's Kárhozat is a testament to the brilliance of this creative juggernaut.
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