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The Prefab People (1982)

Panelkapcsolat (original title)
A husband and wife, drifting apart, reflect on the events leading up to the worst argument of their marriage.


Béla Tarr


Béla Tarr
1 win. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Judit Pogány Judit Pogány ... Feleség
Róbert Koltai ... Férj
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kyri Ambrus Kyri Ambrus ... énekesnõ
Jánosné Bráda Jánosné Bráda
János Fábián János Fábián
Péter Gellért Péter Gellért
Tivadar Gál Tivadar Gál
Barna Mihók Barna Mihók
Adrián Nagy Adrián Nagy
Gábor P. Koltai ... Gyerek (as Koltai Gábor)
László Sinkó László Sinkó
Józsefné Sothó Józsefné Sothó ... Tanárnõ
Istvánné Szabó Istvánné Szabó
Tibor Tóth Tibor Tóth
András Udvarhelyi András Udvarhelyi ... Mûvezetõ


A husband and wife, drifting apart, reflect on the events leading up to the worst argument of their marriage.

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family relationships | See All (1) »









Release Date:

9 December 1982 (Hungary) See more »

Also Known As:

The Prefab People See more »

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Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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References The Godfather (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

The Roots of a Master
29 June 2008 | by MacAindraisSee all my reviews

The Prefab People (1982) ***1/2

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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