Utazás az Alföldön | Journey on the Plain [1995]

5/10 | 15.Sep.12
Utazás az Alföldön | Journey on the Plain [short]

DIRECTOR: Béla Tarr | WRITERS: Sándor Petőfi (poems); László Krasznahorkai, Béla Tarr (scenario) | CAST: Mihály Vig | Hungary

Journey on the Plain is a short in which actor-composer Mihály Vig revisits locations on the Great Hungarian Plain — the puszta — that were used in Tarr’s Sátántangó, while he recites short lyric poems by Hungary’s national poet Sándor Petőfi. Unusually for Tarr, the film is shot in color and the length of each shot is determined by the length of the poem. Since I haven’t seen Sátántangó, know Petőfi only by reputation, and neither know Hungarian nor whether the subtitles are literal or poetic translations of the originals, I’m at a loss as to how to rate this film. The puszta looks deserted and featureless; the poetry is standard lyric poetry fare: variously on drinking wine, friendship, death, and mourning; the directing and cinematography are unobtrusive.

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