Autumn Almanac

Bela Tarr has been for me – together with Michelangelo Antonioni – one of the most profound film directors. His black and white masterpieces “Satantango”, “Werckmeister Harmonies”, “The Turin Horse”, “The man from London”, “Damnation” and the colour film “Autumn Almanac” are like many other comparable great works of literature or music very demanding in their length and underlying complexities.
The ever so fashionable “relevance” issue ( equally demanded by leftists and right-wingers these days, “elitism” being the target ) and “entertainment demand” being of no concern here. The topics and themes of the films go far beyond some Zeitgeist or the usual ideological -isms: socialism,capitalism,feminism,catholicism,protestantism etc
Instead Bela Tarr focuses on people’s bare existence, the bleakness and deprived situation many find themselves in.
It can also be interpreted as an attempt to depict feelings that may exist within people’s minds.
Long slow shots and films up to 7 and a half hours do not let up or grant reprieve on the onlooker. It is a merciless business watching a Tarr movie. But in Tarr’s own words ( and not those of the often self aggrandising movie experts –there is an awful example of that on you tube — Howard Feinstein interviews Tarr ) it is all about the dignity of human beings. Despite being in the most bleak situations, their dignity is there, it doesn’t need touching up or sentimentalising. Here are some visual excerpts from the 7 and a half hour film “Satantango” plus an excerpt from “Autumn Almanac”.