Crime / Drama / Romance

IMDb Rating 7.8 10 5563

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
December 27, 2021 at 11:38 AM



1.09 GB
Hungarian 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 1 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by dbborroughs 8 / 10

taken on its own terms (and not necessarily the directors) this is a haunting piece of film-making (then again it might bore you to tears)

Bela Tarr's mediation on interpersonal relationships (and perhaps, the end of the world). In a small town a man is obsessed with a singer in a night club. She's married but doesn't completely deflect his advances. Dark brooding tale filled with long takes seems to be taking place in another world or another time (perhaps it's an after life). It's a hypnotic trip (if this clicks with you about the nature of obsession and how we view ourselves (if not it's a pretentious and tedious exercise).

I've read that director Bela Tarr insists that the film (as he insists about all his films) is a portrait of life as it is but I would be hard pressed to say that this is any sort of reality except perhaps a reality of the internal. The film's stark and beautiful black and white photography creates a world that seems forever in a mist or rain. It is a place like our own and yet different. People speak in ways that don't seem wholly normal. Verse is quoted and is the bible. No one speaks that way. Musicians play music but how they play doesn't quite match up with the music we hear. The mine carts that we see over head seem to be moving the damned to and from this place and not ore (indeed we never see either end of the line). Tarr says there is nothing allegorical or metaphoric implied or intended but I would argue that the film doesn't function as a straight narrative. Too much is off kilter, too much fails to connect for this to be real life. I'm not saying that the story of obsession, of a man doing what he feels he must to obtain the object of his desire doesn't work if it's taken as straight tale, it does, but at the same time the film becomes a battle with tedium. There becomes no reason for the film to run two hours, for the odd passages of dialog or the long takes. Frankly if the film is taken as the director intends it to be, then the film is a crashing bore and a failure on anything but a basic level. The film only works on some other level that isn't straight reporting, certainly the much used term 'apocalyptic' that I've read and heard connected to the film is inappropriate. Having been a creator of various things I know that sometimes the works we create change or become not what we intend. I understand that the creator of say a film is the one to ask what he intended but at the same time that doesn't mean what he intends is what is there on the screen. I think Tarr thinks he made one thing however I think he ended up with something else instead. I think as a film that is open to our own interpretation, being real world or not, the film is a masterpiece and a trip ripe with possibilities. I think as a straight tale of souls locked in a straight battle of possession it's a crashing bore filled with WTF moments. As something else of souls elsewhere or even inside of themselves it's a trip. See the film, take it for what it is, or what ever you take it to be and be carried away.

Reviewed by Polaris_DiB 7 / 10

A moment of transcendence amongst introspection

I have been meaning to get around to seeing some work by Bela Tarr for a while, considering the collective international fangasm this guy is receiving. I certainly see the attraction: Bela Tarr has learned his craft from some of the best, notably Andrei Tarkovsky, and is capable of turning every element of the landscape and setting into a character in and of itself. He is also really good at using sound editing and music to add an extra dimension to the already almost three-dimensional fluid motion of the camera, which typically tracks along a single access back and forth constantly revealing another angle. One of his best shots in this film is an exterior where an old woman approaches and cuts off the frame with an umbrella, showing that Tarr even uses props and costuming to create simple, effective compositions.

The movie follows a small community of Hungarians, especially Karrer, as they live out the misery of their stolid existence but manage, by the end, to find some form of redemption in each other--sorta. The dance sequence near the end is a real moment of transcendence, but the scenes immediately following indicate a return to hopelessness and despair. Tarr is smart and keeps the actual story completely to the visual elements, leaving the dialog to be long and exhaustive character analyses and themes about Judgement Day, et al. After all, the movie is called Damnation. Anyway, it can be distracting to follow one thread of thought in the foreground while in the background the actual story is happening, but on one hand that is sort of the point, and on the other hand the nature of Tarr's long takes are such that he is capable of revealing exactly which element you are supposed to be paying the most attention to. I particularly liked the scene where the bartender confronts Karrer about his self-involvement, as it is one of the aspects of the character that really drags the movie down.

The best praise that I can give to this movie is that I did not feel the two hour playlength, despite the long takes. I give the biggest credit to the use of sound, much background noise of which helped psychologically move the spectator into the frame of the movie. Ultimately Tarr echoes one of his own character's statements, "I love watching rain," and invites the viewer to share in the pleasure as well, as most of the movie is sort of like watching a storm through a window and allowing yourself to go into a daze.


Reviewed by rooprect 1 / 10

why me.

Why, oh why, Mr. Tarr, did you damn me to your 2-hour hell of pretentious, existential cinematic masturbation? What did I ever do to you?

I was shocked to see such sloppy, pointless drivel come from the same mind that created the masterpiece _Werckmeister Harmoniak_. Both films are dreary, slow and oppressive, but while _Werckmeister_ had a profound theme and unique style, _Damnation_ was little better than a 1st year film student's ambitious attempt at recreating Fellini. Yeah, take the movie 8 1/2, slow it down to half speed, replace all the dialogue with random Sylvia Plath poetry, and voila... DAMNATION.

One particularly aggravating aspect of the film is the sloppy music scenes. This is by far the worst synch job I've ever seen. The extras who are supposed to be playing instruments can barely hold them, let alone present convincing performances. Normally I can let this slide in a film, but Tarr's endless closeups really highlight the flaw. Granted, there's no real science to accordion music, but it would be nice to see the player's fingers moving.

But enough of my opinions. Without ruining the plot (as if there IS a plot), I'll just give you a preview of some of the hell that awaits you should you choose to watch _Damnation_.

  • Opening scene lasts 6 minutes as we watch the back of a man's head as he looks through a window. (Note to Mr. Tarr: Godard did this already; you're 20 years too late)

  • 3 minute closeup of a pile of bar glasses.

  • Endlessly long musical numbers where the playing doesn't match up with the sound... not even close! (pianists & drummers will get a kick out of how awful these scenes are)

  • 2.5 minute scene of a man barking at a dog. I was very embarrassed for the poor dog.

  • 3 minutes of a man stomping his feet in the rain.

  • 90 second closeup of a man munching on something (complete with gross, exaggerated sound effects). Tell me, is there anything that one can possibly munch for 90 seconds? Do they eat gravel in Hungary?

In closing, let me stress: NEVER EVER NEVER NEVER EVER see this movie!! Watch _Werckmeister Harmoniak_ if you like slow movies that are meaningful. Or maybe check out _Russian Ark_ if you like meaningLESS movies that are still interesting to watch. But _Damnation_? To hell with it!

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