Damnation
Damnation
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Synopsis

One of the late philosopher Susan Sontag's favorite films, this powerful work reveals the evolution of the cinematic method and dark metaphysical style that Hungarian auteur Bela Tarr made famous in Santantango and Werckmeister Harmonies. Black and white images seem to float out of an endless drunken dream as a reclusive loner obsessively pursues his former lover. "Damnation is the ultimate film-noir, a deeply existential rumination on the miserableness of existence and the search for a meaning or a means of escape" (DVD Times). In Hungarian with English subtitles. Bela Tarr---Hungary---1988---116 mins.

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  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
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  | Lewis#4

With this fine 1988 film Béla Tarr firmly establishes himself as one of the great cinematic poets of despair, setting the stage for the 1994 "Satantango," an epic of unrelieved hopelessness. We are presented here with a bleak mining outpost in a landscape exploited and despoiled, a city marked by unceasing rain, wandering dogs, and ore gondolas circulating endlessly on cables. "Damnation" applies to all the inhabitants. They drink to excess, talk aimlessly, and dance listlessly to music that is maddeningly repetitious. Even their love-making is joyless. Against this grim tableau we meet Karrer (Tarr regular Miklós Székely B.), an alcoholic loser infatuated with "The Singer" (Vali Kerekes), who is married to the intimidating Sebestyén (György Cserhalmi). In the end Karrer eliminates his rival by denouncing him to the police and in doing so seems to lower himself to the level of the feral canines. His confrontation with one of them, a black hellhound, is both odd and terrifying. This is an important transitional film for Béla Tarr, establishing his mature style--long takes, glacial camera movements, carefully calculated black-and-white photography, minimal dialog, existentially troubled characters--and marking the official beginning of his enduring collaboration with Hungarian novelist László Krasznahorkai. Obvious influences here are Tarkovsky and Jancso, but this is very much a Béla Tarr film, standing at the threshold of Tarr's great late-period career.

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  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
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  | steve#24

Damnation sets the mood of what it would be like in a mining town full of filth and alocholism. Vivid black and white images of feeling lost in confusion individuals surviving off of each others energy in an environment dead to the world. The sound track is great. I love the random scene such as a guy dancing in rain puddle for each moment in life could be random. I rate this movie a 4 for it could be better but in reality the concept is a classic. So watch the film and you be the judge.

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