Last weekend I watched the film Sátántangó, a seven-and-a-half hour long Hungarian film, shot in black-and-white, directed by Belá Tarr and released in 1994.
Besides the long running time, I think the film is mostly famous for its amount of very long shots. According to the director (I didn’t count them!) there are only around 150 shots in the whole film, which means that the film has an average shot-length of about 3 minutes! There are even shots in the film that run close to ten minutes.
The film made quite an impression on me. The fact that I enjoyed a 7,5 hour long film, often with minute long shots of just people walking, to me is very fascinating. When I started to figure out for myself why this was, I came to the conclusion that -for me, at least- it all has to do with the visual language. I think that a lot of the story is told through images. Well, not just the story, because it isn’t only about the story, it might be more about the atmosphere, the feeling, which is told through images. And this film contains many very beautiful shots, images, and then I think it’s not a problem to look at it for a while.
It is inspirational for in in a way that, I sometimes have the idea that everything has to be super fast paced, and although I really enjoy a film like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, I think it’s beautiful to see that a film like Sátántangó can also work, in its own way. It’s a totally different way of enjoying film, closer to art then entertainment. And although I can understand why, I sometimes think it’s a shame that films like this aren’t more widely known.
Down here a short clip I found on YouTube:
And a collection of screenshots I took of shots I found very interesting: