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Satantango (1994)
"Sátántangó" (original title)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  28 April 1994 (Hungary)
8.5
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 4,912 users  
Reviews: 44 user | 43 critic

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 ... See full summary »

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Title: Satantango (1994)

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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)
János Derzsi ...
Kráner
Irén Szajki ...
Kránerné
Alfréd Járai ...
Halics
Miklós Székely B. ...
Erzsébet Gaál ...
Halicsné
György Barkó ...
Iskolaigazgató
Zoltán Kamondi ...
Kocsmáros
Barna Mihók ...
Kerekes
Péter Dobai ...
András Bodnár ...
Horgos Sanyi
Erika Bók ...
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, whom 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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

28 April 1994 (Hungary)  »

Also Known As:

Satantango  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie was filmed between 4 February 1992 and 16 January 1994. See more »

Quotes

Futaki: I shouldn't drink. When I do I keep thinking of coffins.
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Connections

Referenced in Elephant (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Tantric Cinema
11 July 2008 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

There really is no way to evaluate this film without assessing it as a 7 1/2 hour death trudge. The runtime is the purpose of the film and Bela Tarr knows it. There really is no way to spoil this film because it barely has a plot and does its best to divert itself from it once it gets going. Even if you know the sort of repetitious psychological torture you're about to subject yourself to you still have to endure it.

Although I certainly took it as a tantric cinematic experience, I won't say that I enjoyed it nor that I particularly expected to enjoy it. So far as I know nobody has ever been forced to sit through this film Clockwork Orange style. As a voluntary experience the film is just a method for the audience to confront its own masochism and the dreariness of its existence.

That said, I think that in the 7 hours I spent watching it (about 25 minutes were lost due to it being a Pal conversion and running imperceptibly faster than usual) maybe 2 1/2 hours were brilliant. Of course, I can't assess whether those moments of brilliance coming later on in the film were actually brilliant or of I had just begun to submit to the film the way interrogation subjects start to crack after sleep deprivation.

The film has some very strong suits, namely the cinematography and setting. There were some moments where I laughed more than I had ever laughed in a film but I think that might have just been from cracking under pressure. I did think the last shot was perfect, although it would have been better without the final voice over.

Also, the one game that I played throughout the film that kept me going was "Which Andrei Tarkovsky film does this most resemble?" While I do think that Bela Tarr has certainly championed his own form of patent miserablism, I did notice about eight shots (amounting to about an hour of the film if not more) that looked entirely cribbed from Tarkovsky's repertoire. Maybe someday I'll edit out the Tarkovsky film located within this film and see if I can pass it off on anyone unfamiliar with Tarr.

That said, I'm... happy(???) that I sat through the whole thing, if only because afterward I got to go for a nice long bike ride and enjoy the fact that the world is in color and I don't live in a post communist society. Maybe that's how Albert Hoffmann felt.

I will say that I was disappointed in the film. Although that's kind of like being disappointed with the melody in a John Cage piece. I really loved Werckmeister Harmonies but I despised Damnation. This one falls pretty evenly between the two, it just happens to fall from space, burn up on re-entry and take seven hours to hit the ground.

In the end the audience only has the same thing to hold on to as the characters living in these miserable conditions; that they endured.


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