Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Four (discs) to 'tango


Back in December 2006, about 100 people took a big chance on a film that we never thought we’d get the chance to show, and it wasn't until 26 reels arrived at our doorstep that the realization fully hit. Something of a holy grail for cinephiles, up there with Jacques Rivette’s OUT 1, Fassbinder’s BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ, Godard’s HISTOIRE(S) DU CINEMA by virtue of mammoth length, accomplishment and audience endurance, a rare screening of Hungarian director Bela Tarr’s SATANTANGO is something that we luckily found would even attract people from other southeastern cities willing to make the drive for a 7.5-hour slice of miserablism laid out in long, long takes. If you, the reader, were among the brave, feel free to chime in here, but I think it’s fair to say that most people found it a truly rewarding experience – one that would stay with them for some time to come.

That said, the reason for this post is that it seems that Facets is finally releasing the film on DVD on July 22 after two years of threatening to do so. I write this with baited breath, as the release date has probably been announced and cancelled more times than I can count on one hand, but Facets has recently added details regarding extras with their most recent date, which is encouraging.

For shucks and giggles and to fly in the face of previously stated viewing preferences, here’s one of the extras, PROLOGUE for the omnibus VISIONS OF EUROPE, in its entirety:


As is not necessarily evident in YouTube clips, Bela Tarr’s use of the elongated shot naturally brings the viewer to contemplate and appreciate even the smallest details of the frame. Even on the best of televisions, such things can be lost or, at very least muddied in the inherent compression of the DVD format. In addition, Facets has a history of releasing dodgy product, though it is said that the reason for the delay has been that the director has rejected previous transfers submitted to them by Facets. Having experienced the real deal myself, I'm somewhat exempt from the argument, but let us hope that this is the case. But is this the final resting place of this film, a film which for 14 years has managed to stay, at least in the US, enshrined in the cinema only?

--Toby

1 comment:

wraith7000 said...

The 'tango made me feel weird, like I was stuck in a cold, gray Russian village for weeks...but still, I might visit again, not sure I want it on DVD (unless someone wants to buy it for me, I ain't to proud), but the big screen film experience was definitely something that has stayed with me, especially going in not knowing really what to expect at all.