By Jacques Rancière
From Almanac of Fall (1984) to The Turin Horse (2011), popular Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr has the cave in of the communist promise. The “time after” isn't the uniform and morose time of these who now not think in whatever. it's the time once we are much less attracted to histories and their successes or disasters than we're within the smooth cloth of time from which they're carved. it's the time of natural fabric occasions opposed to which trust might be measured for so long as lifestyles will maintain it.
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Extra resources for Bela Tarr, the Time After (Univocal)
The devil will have sent them turning in circles like the dancers of the farandole. But the devil is ultimately nothing but the fog, the wind, the rain, and the mud that penetrate walls and clothes, 29 in order to install themselves in hearts. It is the law of repetition. There is ordinary humanity, which submits to it - and even risks mimicking it - in the joyous farandoles of the holidays. And there are the characters of the story [les personnages de l'histoire],5 who seek to escape from it. Indeed, a story is quite necessary But, as Karrer says, all stories are stories of disintegration: stories in which one seeks to pierce the wall of repetition, at the price of sinking deeper still into the "interior rain," into the mud of corruption.
But physical possession is not an end in itself. A sex scene devoid of any frenzy, as if in time with the uniform movement of the cable-cars, testifies to this. He will say it to the wife: for him, she is the guardian at the entrance of a tunnel leading to something unknown, to something he cannot name. This unknown, in the depths of which something new is to be found, is the single thing to which those who do not act, to which those who are nothing but perception and sensation can aspire. But the woman at the coat-check has already warned Karrer: the guardian of the tunnel is a witch.
It is, at first sight, the most banal of scenarios for a film addressing communism. And the cyclical form adopted by the film - following Laszlo Krasznahorkais 37 novel, which it brings to the screen - seems, equally, to be the most banal means of adapting the form of the return to a repetitive history, to a fiction of disappointed social hope. And if one adds that it takes the film seven hours and thirty minutes to show us the twelve episodes - which, in the novel, bring us back to the point of departure - and that this duration is tied to the very slow, rotational movements that the filmmaker is particularly fond of, and readily accompanies with indefinitely repeated musical themes, one easily concludes that there is an exact alignment between the circular form and a story of disillusion.