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.
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.
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.
A young boy plays an accordion in a shopping mall. Béla Tarr picks up the camera one more time to shoot his very last scene. It is his anger about how refugees are treated in Europe, especially in Hungary.
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 control room on top of a high iron traverse from where he can see the whole bay. Suddenly he notices that the first of the disembarking passengers, a tall thin figure (a certain Brown as it will turn out later) leaves the harbor, but not on the usual route: after getting through customs, he goes around the dock and then withdraws into a dark corner, waiting. Opposite him, in front of the ship, another man soon appears and throws a suitcase towards the man on the shore. He goes and picks it up, then waits in an dark corner for the other man to join him. When he arrives, however, they begin to quarrel and finally, in the course of the vehement fight, due to a hit that turns out to be fatal, the shorter one falls in the water and sinks, clutching the suitcase in his hand. Maloin is watching the scene, ...Written by
Bela Tarr - I could clearly imagine the port, but since Hungary's have no port at any sea, I had to go out and search of a suitable location and settled on the old port of Bastia in Corsica. See more »
When Maloin and the bartender set up the chessboard and pieces for their daily game, they place the board with a black square in the lower right corner. (The baseball equivalent would be to have the catcher and batter set up at first base instead of home plate!) See more »
Tarr returns after a long absence. Unfortunately, it's not up to par. Well, I should say, I have much of the same problem with this film that I do with all of Tarr's films. I'm certainly not his biggest fan anyway. I love his aesthetic, and would definitely call him a genius just for his visual prowess. It's so extremely original. And he's so good at setting mood, although I should say that the mood of all of his films, at least his later, more well known films, is pretty close to the same. Dark, cold, lonely, the drudgery of life, etc. But as soon as the characters start to speak, I stop paying attention. I find most of the actual words of Tarr's films uninteresting, and, when the characters are talking, I start to realize that I don't find these people that interesting. They may look interesting, as Tarr captures their essence in severe close-ups, but they never say anything interesting. The Man of London unwisely adds plot to the mix. Tarr's earlier films have a wonderful meandering quality, where it feels like he's just capturing people going about their lives. That is true here to an extent, but this one has a pretty clear plot structure, and one that's been told often before: a man finds a pile of money that belongs to crooks, and he pays for it. It's not plot driven by any means, but that skeletal plot is followed, and it makes the film less interesting than Tarr's other films. Also, Tilda Swinton shows up as the protagonist's wife in what amounts to a cameo (she has about five minutes of screen time in this 2 hour and 12 minute film), and it's pretty distracting. There's a cute little nod to Satantango at one point, where people in a bar dance like they did in that behemoth. Also, the little girl with the cat from Satantango shows up as the protagonist's daughter. It's weird, because she looks exactly the same, except she's a woman now. A very, very creepy woman. Who probably still kills cats when nobody's looking.
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