Sunday, October 30, 2005

Kárhozat (Damnation) * * * *

I gave this 4 stars not because it was enjoyable, but because it was one of the most memorable films I've seen and reminded me very much of the the time I spent watching East Berlin in the mid-1980s when I was a student in West Berlin -- just sitting on subway or on a bench somewhere, nowhere, just looking at the terminal grayness, a grayness that seemed to seep into the being of the passerbys. So yes, this film is ultimate film-noir. It is a film by the famous-for-dark-noir Hungarian director Bela Tarr (review at I suggest this film to anyone who's spent time in Eastern Europe and thinks they might enjoy a noir film. It's in black-and-white, very artsy, with long, long staring takes. I think there was one take of water dripping down a wall for over 2 minutes. And the rain; you can almost feel it seeping into your lungs. And the endless coal cars going overhead. The movie also has the most nihilistic sex scene I've ever seen. It's not what you'd expect -- like a human counterpart to the water running down the wall. It's another art shot -- nothing is really happening at all. I'm actually considering buying this movie, which is very unusual for me. It comes in a 2 part disc set with another bleak art movie, but I didn't watch the other one.

I watched this because I was curious to see Gyorgy Cserhalmi in another role after Zelary. He was the least hypnotic of the performers (he's the one asleep on the table in the picture above). I think this was the script. His character was meant to be shallower, perhaps. On the otherhand, the main supporting woman was really quite captivating, if a bit depressing.

Buy from DVDTimes
Rent at Scarecrow Video in Seattle.

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