Worried for the Man From London
Posted 26 May 2007 - 08:21 AM
All Bela's great work has been in collaboration with author/genius LASZLO KRASZNAHORKAI
Working with Simeon's material I suspected that Tarr may just be working with thematically bankrupt material and the film just become an empty exercise in his intricate cinematographic style.
Did anyone actually catch the film?
Posted 21 June 2007 - 02:37 AM
Posted 11 October 2007 - 02:36 PM
Apparently they offered to screen his film in the afternoon, but he insisted on an evening (i.e. compulsory smoking) slot. But the evening screenings are also attended by people who are not necessarily cinephiles, but rather like to be seen walking up the steps, the local chiceria and such. So if the film being screened is a bit slow, these people stream out of the theatre in a hurry. In Bela Tarr's case the theatre was more empty than full at the end of the performance unfortunately.
Have you seen it yet Max? I ran across this on Slate Magazine and remembered that you're a big Bela Tarr fan:
Unless you keep a close eye on movie listings at museums and universities, you probably won't be able to see The Man From London, the latest enigmatic hunk of celluloid from the great Hungarian director Béla Tarr. It's not his best film?if you're discovering him for the first time, you'd do better to rent Damnation or his seven-hour masterpiece, Satantango. But when you're talking about Tarr's work, "best film" is a pretty high bar to set. The Man From London still feels like no other film that you've seen before. It's cerebral and lugubrious, yet simple as a fairy tale.
The Man from London follows a railroad track-switcher, Maloin (Miroslav Krobot), who witnesses from his tower one man killing another over a briefcase full of British pounds, then flees without taking the money. Maloin retrieves the briefcase, hides it away, and returns home to his angry, miserable wife (a bizarrely cast, Hungarian-dubbed Tilda Swinton) and dejected daughter (Erika Bok.) When a "famous English inspector" (Istvan Lenart) arrives to investigate the case, Maloin finds himself under suspicion, but the investigation is strangely vague?does the inspector really want to find the killer, or does he just want to keep the money for himself? This sounds like a thriller plot, but The Man From London is deliberately and rigorously unthrilling. It's less interested in story than in allegory, as that hidden suitcase of cash becomes a symbol for the corrosive power of human greed.
Based on a George Simenon novel, The Man From London is the closest thing Tarr has done to a genre film. His signature visual style?stark black-and-white images, with fluid, seemingly endless takes and a hypnotic accordion score?shares some traits with film noir, and there are moments here that seem meant to evoke The Third Man. But Tarr's project isn't Postmodern or nostalgic; it's mythic. His movies, even the imperfect ones, feel somehow inevitable, as if carved out of stone. Once you enter into their grave, melancholy rhythm (and stepping into the theater from the frenzy of modern life, that's no small order), you're captivated, and astonished once again by what cinema can do.
Posted 11 October 2007 - 08:15 PM
I love slow, contemplative films but it feels as if the Man from London was channeling Melville without much of the tension. I liked it but left the cinema pretty disappointed. It really split the audience.