Sunday, February 25, 2007

Satantango

Susan Sontag said she wanted to see it every year for the rest of her life. For me I think two times will be enough. I was at the BAM cinemathek yesterday and saw it for the second time (first time on big screen). There were two intervals of fifteen minutes each but still a major sitzfleisch test, but I passed it successfully, from three in the afternoon to almost eleven in the night, sitting and staring at the screen in the dark! Surprisingly the theatre was completely packed and I don't think anybody walked out before the end, except perhaps for one cat-lover. Tarr has said somewhere that there was vet on the set and the cat wasn't harmed during the filming of the scene. The cat now lives with him.

It is no doubt a great film but as with Werckmeister Harmonies I felt it is too formalist an approach to the subject, eschewing the social, political and philosophical elements of the story, which makes it something of a comparatively limited interest than the source book. I am of course extrapolating from Krasznahorkai's two other books The Melancholy of Resistance and War and War that I have read so far. I hope it gets translated too. It sure will be funnier and even bleaker than the other two.

7 comments:

jyothsnay said...

umm, a loud applause for the winner of "sitzfleisch" (Flesh for sitting) test...sounds an interesting movie to watch...any reactions as developed by knees n flesh after this 7 hrs long movie? that old man with long hair, from who I take the DVDs to watch, is on his way to become an ardent fan of you..before verifying my health & life status, he asks me now "how is Alok"..sure my PR skills worked well...not at the xpense of..tch tch

alpha2omega said...

Satantango is not a film, its a live painting!

Alok said...

jyothsnay: Hey, do you take DVDs from Habitat on the church street? I was a regular there. He charges a lot but has a good collection and seems to know a lot about movies...

No issues with any body parts whatsoever. I am used to sitting for long hours. If i have to run may be my knees will complain.

alpha: yes, that's true. I realized specially after seeing it on big screen. dark and bleak but beautiful.

jyothsnay said...

sincere apologies for having used a wrong word n hurt the sensibilities.
well, I still have not experienced Satantango..let me experience this n review this in my own way....
yes Alok...but he loooves people from Advertising world, you know..I am going to reveiw Wild Strawberries...

Alok said...

haha.. no need to get all satirical. I wonder if that Habitat guy remembers me, I used to be a very silent customer.

And Wild Strawberries is one of my all time favourites! Will wait for your review.

mr waggish said...

Ah, we were at the same screening. This was the second time I'd seen it.

What's remarkable is that Tarr really does transform Krasznahorkai's material, and I'm surprised that K. is so complicit in it. You can read the doctor chapter in about 1/5 of the time the actual film sequence takes, and though the film is extremely loyal to the book, there's no question that the effect is different, and no question that Tarr would make a terrible writer. What he does have is a visceral consistency so that when you walk out, you have lived on his terms for seven hours, and that's no small feat. Eustache does the same in La Maman et la Putain.

Granted, length plays a factor in both as well...

Alok said...

Yes I agree the book and the film aren't the same thing and I am talking only about werckmeister harmonies here. film as a medium lacks the ability to discuss ideas and disseminate information which comes easily to fiction. and I think it was a wise decision to move further towards an abstraction while filming the book, and even if it had to sacrifice some political and philosophical weight in the process it does bring to focus the formal aspects of the work.

You must have read Satantango in French or German. It isn't yet available in English.