Béla Tarr – Kárhozat AKA Damnation [Artificial Eye] (1988)

Kárhozat is close to being a genre film in its story of love and betrayal, a theme that Tarr has described as being very simple—even “primitive.” Karrer lives a withdrawn life in a mining community where his evenings all end up in the Titanik bar. He is offered a smuggling job by the bar’s owner but passes it on to Sebestyén, husband of the singer at the bar. In Sebestyén’s absence, Karrer and the wife sleep together and Karrer seeks a lasting relationship. He considers denouncing Sebestyén to the police. On Sebestyén’s return, there is a confrontation between the two men and the bar owner takes the woman to his car, where they have sex. The next day, Karrer denounces them all. In the final scene, Karrer approaches a waste tip in the pouring rain where he confronts a barking dog. Getting down onto his hands and knees, he barks at it until it is forced into retreat.

However, what is most striking about the film is its style—the emphasis on formal composition, the use of the long take and the sequence shot, the slow movements of the camera and the experimentation with sound and time. It is worth recalling Antonioni’s comment on his own films that his main claim to fame lay in the reinvention of cinematic time—a claim that could also be made for Tarr. Other film-makers who could be said to work in this tradition include Jancsó, Andrei Tarkovsky, Theo Angelopoulos and Aleksandr Sokurov. Tarr, however, maintains a much stronger sense of narrative, even if it is subverted in various ways.

2.03GB | 1 h 59 min | 762×572 | mkv



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