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 Székely B.
After witnessing a crime during his night shift as railway switchman near the docks, a man finds a briefcase full of money. While he and his family step up their living standards, others start looking for the disappeared case.
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.
In a work of site-specific expanded Cinema, going beyond his earlier narrative features,the director presents a middle and upper class audience gathered in a museum setting with images of ... See full summary »
An early Bela Tarr film, showing some of what was to come, but overall feeling more like Cassavetes than the Tarr we know today. Shot in characteristic long takes and black and white, Prefab People is far more raw and documentary like than stately.
The film revolves around the lives of a married couple with a young baby and a child. The film begins with as Robi, the husband, is packing up and leaving his wife. He seems to be the obvious bad guy here. The film then moves and they are back together, presumably a flashback to happier times. They are celebrating their 9th anniversary, but happiness soon turns to the wife's tears as she presses him about a job and complains about him having to watch him walk away each day. Scenes continue in this way - he's obviously not a perfect husband; he enjoys his beer, his friends, and wants more from his career. She is a caring mother, but perhaps a nagging and extremely needy wife. She complains to friends that he never sees when they are out that she feels the need to dance, and reminisces about her youth. At a dance hall (a trademark Bela Tarr sequence) people dance, while the couple and their friends chat. One of the friends wive's invites Robi to dance, and he does. Meanwhile, the wife is agitated and upset that she was never asked by her husband, despite never making any notion that she would like to do so. In another instance he tells her he's been offered a job abroad in Romania for 2 years that will give him double the pay - they can buy a car and a house. She tells him that she doesn't care about those things and would rather they be together all the time without them than be apart. He's upset, but seeing that she won't budge, says that he will tell his employers no thanks.
It becomes obvious that neither party is perfect, and both are in one way or another at fault for their situation. Finally we return to the opening scene, only this time the camera moves differently and the dialogue is different in parts. Have we come full circle? Was what we saw a flash back? is this a new breakup? Its a clever trick by Tarr to mix things up. The final scene involves the couple buying a washing machine, leaving us to wonder if they are back together again, or if it is another memory.
While this film isn't as assured or stately as the film's he is famous for today, Tarr shows that he really is a masterful director, able to work at any length (the film runs a minute 75 minuets compared to the 7.5 hour Satantango). Prefab People is a very good film, though I'm not necessarily sure its a great one. On its own, it certainly stands above the cut for its raw and realistic emotional punch (The wife cries (numerous times) perhaps the most sincere tears I've seen on film. Her nagging is annoying to us at times, and understood at others. The acting overall is very good all around, especially the husband.
The film certainly can't be said to be enjoyable - it's painful subject matter, and what happy scenes there are are few and far between and short in duration. It's nevertheless a very solid, and nothing if not interesting effort from early Bela Tarr.
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