very slowly to watching 'Satantango
' by Bela Tarr
(please excuse the lack of accents in both the titles and the director's name, but my knowledge of the Hungarian keyboard and/or the html codes for these characters is somewhat non-existent).
Almost eight hours of Tarkovskii/Antonioni- influenced Central European gloom. This is the most readily available (in the UK at least) of the 24 most important films listed in The Cinema of Central Europe
. It is seemingly a film composed of very long, static shots, a film in which very little happens.
How does one cope with this? I saw the Star Wars trilogy in a single 8-hour sitting as a six-year old (with breaks between each film), but that was about the single most exciting thing to have happened in my life up to that point. Andrei Rublev
was intolerable in Petrozavodsk, yet I have watched it several times since with no overwhelming urge to either kill myself or to dig my way out of the room with my bare hands.
I suppose that watching it at home frees me somewhat from the necessity to watch it all in one sitting. I can get a drink, I can go to the loo. But will this impact on my perception of the film as a whole. If one leaves a shot of a muddy road in the rain and returns some 15 minutes later to what you believe to be the same shot, will my understanding of the film be compromised? Or simply any feelings of empathy I may feel to wards the protagonists' predicament?
In certain ways, the same question(s) are raised when watching Sokurov, especially Days of Eclipse or his documentaries about Russians living on the peripheries of the former Soviet Union - his use of filters, long static shots and so on draw one into the tedium and apparent lengthening of even the shortest periods of time that the characters experience, as well as the oppressive nature their surroundings, be it the Central Asian desert, mountains, or even the confines of a submarine.