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Satantango (1994)

Sátántangó (original title)
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.

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(novel), (story) | 4 more credits »
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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mihály Vig ...
Putyi Horváth ...
Petrina (as Dr. Putyi Horváth)
László feLugossy ...
Schmidt
Éva Almássy Albert ...
Schmidtné (as Éva Almási Albert)
...
Kráner
Irén Szajki ...
Kránerné
Alfréd Járai ...
Halics
Miklós B. Székely ...
Futaki (as Miklós Székely B.)
Erzsébet Gaál ...
Halicsné
György Barkó ...
Iskolaigazgató
Zoltán Kamondi ...
Kocsmáros
Barna Mihók ...
Kerekes
Péter Dobai ...
András Bodnár ...
Horgos Sanyi
...
Estike
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Storyline

In a small, dilapidated village in 1990s Hungary, life has come to a virtual stand-still. The Autumn rains have started. A few of the villagers expect to receive a large cash payment that evening, and then plan to leave. Some want to abscond earlier with more than their fair share of the money. However they hear that the smooth-talking Irimias, who they thought had died, is returning. They are apprehensive that he will take all their money in one of his grandiose schemes to keep the community going. Written by Will Gilbert

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Genres:

Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

28 April 1994 (Hungary)  »

Also Known As:

Satantango  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film, like many of Béla Tarr's films, contains one of the longest average shot lengths in any motion picture: 145.7 seconds. A single long take approximately 4 hours into the movie lasts an incredible 10 minutes, 14 seconds. See more »

Quotes

Százados: Not that human life was so highly valued. Keeping order appears to be the business of the authorities, but in fact it's the business of all. Order. Freedom, however, has nothing human. It's something divine, something... our lives are too short for us to know properly. If you're looking for a link, think of Pericles, order and freedom are linked by passion. We have to believe in both, we suffer from both. Both from order and freedom. But human life is meaningful, rich, beautiful and filthy. It ...
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Connections

Referenced in Elephant (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A masterpiece for this decade
26 September 1998 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

I was mesmerized by this 7-hour long 1994 Hungarian film called "Satantango." Filmed entirely in black and white, director Bela Tarr has created some of the most stunning images I've seen on film. The opening shot, about 10 minutes long, is an enormous tracking shot following a herd of cows wandering through an otherwise desolate village. Then there's this 10-minute take of a window at dawn. Everything but the window is dark, then ever so slowly morning light brings the objects in the room into view, a character finally enters, peers out the window, then goes back to bed. There's a 5-minute tracking shot of two characters hurrying down the street in a horrendous wind while a veritable tornado of garbage and litter whirls about them. There's a stark, almost surreal woods strewn with fog. No take is less than a minute long, and there are about a dozen around 10 minutes. The average edited shot in a Hollywood film is less than 10 seconds. It's almost mind-boggling the logistical and practical difficulties of sustaining such long takes. In a great many, Tarr utilizes extensive camera movement. The camera tracks and weaves and gives you a sense of space found in few other films -- maybe those of a Welles, Ophuls, or Kubrick. The dance in the middle of the film from which the film takes its title is shown in one 10-minute take. It cuts away to a little girl watching the dance for a few minutes, then cuts back to the dance for another 10-minute take. And nothing about this sequence is boring. The eight actors in the scene carry on heartily. Another inspired shot has the camera revolving around seven sleeping characters while a narrator describes the dreams of each.

The story concerns a group of poor villagers who gets conned by a smart talker who was once one of their own into giving up all their money to go live on a non-existent communal farm. The first 4-1/2 hours is made up of 5 "stories" from the perspective of different characters over the course of the same day. Some of the events in each story overlap, so you see them occur again and again, but each time from a different perspective since they occur in the context of a different character's life. It is not unlike what Tarantino does with a segment in "Jackie Brown," but whereas Tarantino's technique is tiresome because it is plot-related, Tarr's is a grand achievement in tone.

The first story shows us Futaki, who while having an affair with Mrs. Schmid, finds out that her husband is planning to make off with the money that eight villagers have come into through one of conman Irimias's schemes. Then they both discover Irimias, who was thought to be dead, has returned to their village. The second story follows Irimias and his trying to evade trouble with the law. The third shows us a doctor who observes the other villagers and who writes down everything he experiences in journals that he keeps. The fourth has a young girl taking out her miseries in life on a cat and contemplates suicide. The fifth shows all the pertinent villagers gather together at a bar and drinking and dancing until they are all in a drunken stupor.

Satantango is one of the grand achievements in cinema of this decade.


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