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Damnation

Director: Bela Tarr

1988.English subtitles.Black and white.120 mins.


Karrer lives a withdrawn life in a mining community where his evenings all end up in the Titanic bar.He is offered a smuggling job by the bar ‘s owner but passes it on to Sebestyen, husband of the Titanic ‘s resident singer.In Sebestyen ‘s absence Karrer and the wife sleep together and Karrer seeks a lasting relationship.
On Sebestyen ‘s return,there is a confrontation between the men and the next day Karrer denounces both Sebesetyen and the bar owner. Damnation may seem close to being a genre piece in its story of love and betrayal,but what is most striking about the film is its style othe emphasis on formal composition,the use of long takes and sequence shots, the slow movements of the camera and the experimentation with sound and time. Tarr says that it is not his objective to tell a story but to get closer to people o’to understand everyday life.’ Yet the characters are only one means of expressing the filmmaker ‘s concerns. Of equal importance to the protagonists are the settings,the elements and other living creatures. Damnation is structured as a kind of circular dance in which buildings, the inclement weather and prowling dogs play key roles alongside the main protagonists in completing a group portrait of human misery.

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