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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The story is always a part of the image

In an interview with Bela Tarr (unknown date) :
"STEVE ERICKSON : It seems to me that there are certain sections of SATANTANGO which emphasize the image far more than the story, and vice versa. Do you see a tension between image and narrative?

BELA TARR : I don't think they are detached, because the story is always a part of the image. In my vocabulary, story doesn't mean the same thing it means in American film language. There are human stories, natural stories, all kinds of stories. The question lies in where you put the emphasis on what's most important. There are everyday titbits that are very important. For instance, in DAMNATION, we leave the story and look at a close-up of beer mugs. But for me, that's also an important story. This is what I mean when I say that I'm trying to look at things from a cosmic dimension. If I could describe a film fully by telling you the narrative, I wouldn't want to make the film. It's time that film frees itself from the shackles of linearity. It drives me crazy that everyone thinks film must equal linear narrative."
And in Jonathan Rosenbaum's review of Satantango (Chicago Reader, October
14, 1994, also in Essential Cinema) :

"If great films invent their own rules, reinventing some of the standards of film criticism in the process, Béla Tarr's Satantango surely belongs in their company. (...)
Satantango is a movie calculated to hit you where you live and to change how you think and feel about it. If all your life has been spent in front of television and movie screens, the movie may not register, because this is one of those rare films that address not "the media" but everything the media leave out."

Both Bela Tarr and Rosenbaum spell out right there what separates the "Contemplative Cinema" trend from the traditional way to make movies. They point out that the film is not about a story, that we can't appropriately describe its narration, that the story is in the images, the importance of mundanity at the same level as other characters, that the narration doesn't function like in the traditional media. That's what we are looking in on this blog, and we need to analyze these aspects in particular, not just with Tarr films, but with other C.C. auteurs who seem to agree about this dissident stance.

P.S. Anybody would like to scan through the wealth of reviews and interviews about Tarr's latest film, The Man From London? I haven't seen it yet, so I can't fully appreciate what is said nor figure what really deals with C.C.
I'll try to make a links resource page special for Bela Tarr.

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