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22 customer reviews

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(Jul 22, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Hungarian auteur Bela Tarr's seven-hour, black-and-white epic based on the novel by Laszlo Karsznahorkai took two years to film. The complex story follows a group of people living in a dilapidated village in post-communist Hungary. Tarr examines their standstill lives through a series of episodes told from each person's point-of-view. Winner of the Caligari Film Prize and the Ecumenical Jury Prize Special Mention at the 1994 Berlin International Film Festival. In Hungarian with optional English subtitles.


...a dark, funny apocalyptic allegory...that stimulates, irritates, soothes and startles with blinding strokes of genius.... --Variety

Devastating, enthralling for every minute of its seven hours. I'd be glad to see it every year for the rest of my life. --Susan Sontag

I had this inspirational moment while I was watching Bela Tarr's Satantango... I started to feel like I was watching something that was made before D.W. Griffith. --Gus Van Zant

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Mihaly Vig, Putyi Horvath, Laszlo Lugossy, Eva Almassy Albert, Janos Derzsi
  • Directors: Bela Tarr
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Hungarian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Facets Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 22, 2008
  • Run Time: 435 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000GTJSE4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,685 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Satantango" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Alex Udvary on July 13, 2008
Format: DVD
The famous opening shot of Bela Tarr's "Satantango" is done in a single take lasting seven minutes. It is of a herd of cows walking across an empty landscape as the camera pans from right to left.

This is not exactly the kind of shot which would thrill most American audiences. And it may be for that reason Hungarian filmmaker Tarr has not quite gained fame in this country.

"Satantango" is a 7 hour film consisting of extreme long shots done in single takes lasting minutes on average. It was shot in black&white, as are most of Tarr's films.

Originally released in 1994 "Satantango" went on to achieve some fame on the international festival circuit. Only now has Facets released the film on DVD. It will be available next week in a three disc set. Since I use to intern at Facets, and this was one of the films I worked on, I received an advance copy. When the DVD is available to the public, it will become, in my opinion, the major DVD event of the year! Finally this masterpiece can now find a larger audience.

Going back to the first image in the film, many people are going to shake their heads, why? What does this mean? Why is Tarr showing us cows? I think this shot is important for many reasons. First of all it sets up the fact the film takes place in a small village. We are among the poor, working class. The land is deserted. No one takes care of it and no one seems to be watching those cows. And could the herd of cows represent the characters in this film? At one point we hear a character describe the others as a "herd". The characters may be wondering aimlessly just like the cows searching for meaning, a purpose. Of course these aren't answers, merely suggestions.

But "Satantango" is filled with images like this with shots which run just as long.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By kaujot on July 16, 2008
Format: DVD
I'm afraid to say, that despite ALL of Facets' posturing, they've done a lackluster job on this truly important film. An unconverted PAL source with tons of ghosting and combing. NON-ANAMORPHIC and interlaced. But the Artificial Eye version. It's not super, but it's a lot better than this typically poor job.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By llull on September 12, 2006
Format: DVD
Living through Sátántángo is like being thrown into a dimension diametrically opposite that of our velocity-laden everyday media sensorium, with its its hyperbolic stimulation of the nervous system. Tarr's film, based on a novel by László Krasnahorkai, evokes with equal explicitness the experience of duration -- the "time-image" -- found in Tarkovsky's films. Tarr takes his time with each scene, with each chapter of the "Dance Order" in which the film is organized. The dance of death, with earth already hell, is the governing metaphor, joined by another powerful one: that of the spider's web, and the intrication in it of victims (both characters and spectators, undoubtedly). The Dance Order runs as follows:

Part One

I. The News That They are Coming

II. We are Resurrected

III. Knowing Something

IV. The Work of the Spider (1)

V. The Net Tears

VI. The Work of the Spider (2)

Part Two

VI. Irimiás Speaks

V. The Perspective, When from the Front

IV. Ascension, Feverdream?

III. The Perspective, When from Behind

II. Nothing but Worries, Nothing but Work

I. The Circle Closes

"History is not at an end, nothing is at an end, we can no longer deceive ourselves that anything with us has come to an end; something continues and is retained.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Nobody on December 26, 2006
Format: DVD
I'm not going to bore you with the details of the `story' because first of all nothing really happens and secondly it's not important. Mostly its just people looking in and out of windows, walking, or just being, yet that may be what we're doing also by sitting for 7 hours, watching other people by transcending the barrier of celluloid and sharing in their misery. They say the eyes are the windows of the soul and in these Breughelian faces we see the personality of characters shine through and understand their individual and personal agony. This is what elevates this film beyond cinema and art into something more personal like the experience of music. By the end of the film characters feel like real people that we may intimately know.

Parallels are inevitably drawn with the work other directors like Tarkovsky, most notably `Andrei Rublev' (1966) and `Stalker' (1979). Tarkovsky's films had a sense of religious hope whereas Bela Tarr's have none of that yet I felt a certain amount of elation at the end. Albert Camus said that struggling to the height may be enough to fill a man's heart. How true.

This is a film I've waited several years to see since I first saw `Werkmeister Harmonies' (2000) and `Damnation' (1988) on the Artificial Eye DVD release. Rumour circulated for a long time about this eventual release and finally we have it. It's a film more have heard about than actually seen and has always been highly revered among cineastes. Satantango is filled with some of the most remarkable cinematography I've ever seen. So was it worth the wait? Absolutely.

Bela Tarr may be the greatest living director working today.

Highly recommended viewing.
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