21 July, 1955, Pécs, Hungary

Béla Tarr insists that his films do not fall into distinctive periods, preferring to identify something akin to a steady evolution rather than marked turning points. Arguing, for example, “if you watch them all together, you can see that this is the same man’s work,”1 there are notable shifts in his filmography, at least on the surface. Perhaps the idea would not be as routinely posited were the latter portions of his output not so inimitably distinguished. While his features released prior to Almanac of Fall (1984) – arguably the film that centers this partition and hinges on its own uniqueness – may resemble those by a number of other directors, the films that follow are exemplary of what one considers the quintessential ‘cinema of Béla Tarr.’ There are certainly continuances in terms of themes, plot points, and characterizations, but in his more recent films, Tarr etches a definitive and incomparable impression on modern cinema, embellishing the screen with instantly identifiable formal qualities: stark black and white imagery, prolonged single takes, depressed and austere settings, and a cast of forlorn, cynical, and destitute characters. The fact of the matter either way, regardless of whether one views his oeuvre as an unbroken progression of commonalities or as a distinctly divided advancement, is that over the course of just nine features and a handful of shorts, television productions, and documentaries, Tarr has developed a singular vision within the international film landscape.

Tarr grew up in Budapest, where his first working exposure to the performing arts came by way of an acting turn in the 1956 television movie, Iván Iljics halála, an adaptation of Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich (Tarr’s only two additional appearances before the camera would include small roles in Gábor Bódy’s Kutya éji dala [1983] and Miklós Jancsó’s Season of Monsters [1987]). Though dabbling in 8mm shorts as a teen, Tarr had no real intention of becoming a filmmaker. But that changed with his involvement in Hungary’s leftist movement, through which he began working on a documentary – now lost – called Guest Workers (Vendégmunkások, 1971), about the Hungarian Socialist Workers Party. In his youthful vigor, Tarr was eager to change the world. The movie camera went from being “just a piece of equipment” to a mechanism with which he could examine the nation’s domestic angst.2

Béla Tarr

Family Nest

After denied admission into numerous universities – to a certain extent, the result of his political affiliations – Tarr worked at a shipyard while making amateur films on the side. He assisted with the semi-documentary Film Saga (Filmregeny, 1977) and, building on his continued experience and inspired by the story of an impoverished squatter, he embarked on his first feature, made with the assistance of the Balazas Béla Studio. Opening with a title proclaiming, “This is a true story. It didn’t happen to people in the film, but it could have,” Family Nest (1979) tapped into Tarr’s budding sociopolitical aspirations with a spontaneous intimacy and a keen awareness of one topical concern in particular. Like Film Saga, as well as Tarr’s 1978 short, Hotel Magnezit (in which a man is kicked out of a hostel ,a communal environment rampant with bickering lives thrust together forming rifts and alliances), Family Nest deals with Hungary’s problematic housing institutions. In the ironically titled film – there are no naturally comforting structures here, nothing like a nest to offer sanctuary and protection – the riotous drama involves a young woman, Irén (Laszlone Horvath), who has been living with her in-laws in their small, cramped apartment, while her husband, Laci (László Horváth), has been away in the army. Subjected to clashes over family honour and harmony, domestic responsibility, and hypocritical moralizing, Irén expects things to change once Laci returns, but the already hostile living conditions are only exacerbated by his presence. Additionally, while gender as a defining individual trait is infrequent in Tarr’s work, Family Nest also delves into notions of expected and accepted male versus female behavior. Irén is chided by her husband and father-in-law for her perceived dalliances, while the two men blatantly indulge in infidelity; in one of the most shocking sequences in any Tarr film, Laci and an associate drunkenly rape Irén’s gypsy friend, after which the trio nonchalantly move on to the nearest bar for drinks.

Shot in five days for around $10,000, with a cast of nonprofessionals, Family Nest scratches the surface of a profound despair that will permeate Tarr’s cinema to come, but it also manages to elicit moments of levity, with pop music and amusement park outings, and it even prompts some degree of dark humor in the family’s petty squabbling.

Tarr completed Family Nest before he entered the Hungarian School of Theatrical and Cinematic Arts (the general thought at the time being that most financiers would be unwilling to back a filmmaker with no academic study under their belt), and it was there he directed his next two films, The Outsider and The Prefab People, both released in 1982. As its title implies, The Outsider examines Tarr’s preoccupation with those on the margins of society, either a result of their social status (inherited or by their own doing), their occupation, and/or their inhabitance. This eponymous outsider is András (András Szabó), a part-time musician who works in a depressing and distressing hospital and has little tolerance for the patients under his care, often lashing out at them in his frustration. Away from work, he drifts in a world of dance, drink, and, unusually for Tarr, unbridled sexuality, while on the job he is careless and selfish (boozing with an alcoholic patient, for instance). In the face of concerns similar to those in Family Nest –  employment, relationships, economic stability – András proceeds with a jaded perseverance, meandering through slices of life marked by extraneous associations and communal spheres of fall-down inebriation. His recklessness and irresponsibility preserve his outsider status, yet like many of Tarr’s downtrodden heroes, he strikes a balance between hopelessness and resilient resignation.

Béla Tarr

Prefab People

The exchanges in Family Nest, The Outsider, and The Prefab People are realistic and candid, developing with a more approachable sense of naturalism than one sees in Tarr’s later work, where the actions are mannered and the dialogue can take the shape of poetic reflection. Though less hypnotic because of this, performances like those from Róbert Koltai and Judit Pogány in The Prefab People, playing husband and wife Férj and Feleség, are comparatively more engaging, rendering their everyday dilemmas more inherently relatable. Again bringing to the forefront issues of social stagnation and unfulfilled yearnings, this young couple struggles through a life plagued by persistent immaturity, divergent physical and emotional needs, and the burdens of family life. Though it is a theme present in all three of these early films – see the prospect of a cure-all flat Irén and Laci can call their own in Family NestThe Prefab People is Tarr’s most explicit examination of consumerist culture. As prosperity comes along (the conflict of the film centers on Férj receiving a promising job offer), so too does the preoccupation with material wealth. By the end of the film, as Férj and Feleség sit in the back of a flatbed truck clutching onto a newly purchased, patently emblematic washing machine, in a fixed shot Tarr holds under the end credits, their blank expressions reveal a blend of acquiescence, satisfaction, and disappointment, contradictory sensations that seem to demarcate the lives of Tarr’s central characters at the beginning of his filmmaking career.

There are clear visual, thematic, and narrative strands that bind these three films. As a so-called “proletarian trilogy,” they share working class concerns of economic hardship and job security; they include disputes over food, wages, decorum, and residential comfort. The primary protagonists find themselves in a routine series of combustible situations and embattled relationships, yielding tense disputes and violent resolutions. While there are underlying political connotations in Tarr’s social fixations, an overt condemnation of the established order is uncommon. Yet these films are undeniably of a contemporary world as it exists, as opposed to his later productions, which are habitually situated in purposefully abstruse and indefinite environments. Though he would eventually move beyond these ostensible social problem films and enter into more abstract territory, Family Nest, The Outsider, and The Prefab People are strategically located in urban centers, sites that are heavily populated with characters who mingle amongst others in a delineated society as figures of a precise time and place. Converging with the frenetic strain of modem existence, which will also dissipate as Tarr’s career continues, is an early penchant for the tedium of daily life, which will remain. The difference here is that the depiction is hardly the protracted application of spectator stamina seen later, though the narratives feel equally amorphous, with no start or finish, unending dramas into which the viewer is dropped with little foundational support.

Stylistically, there is little of the studied, slow-paced unfolding to come in Tarr’s cinema, but rather an onslaught of overlapping dialogue, relatively quick cutting, and a nervous energy heightened by handheld camera movements, tightly packed frames, and painfully private close-ups that seize the shared cruelty and acrimony in extended detail. Ferenc Pap’s cinematography on Family Nest is less expressive than Tarr’s later black and white work, but it is rawer and more unpolished, while the colour cinematography on The Outsider, again by Ferenc Pap, with Barna Mihók, is subtly punctuated by natural light and an unadorned palette. Call it more intensity or less formal restraint, as Jacques Ranciére puts it, “The anger of the young filmmaker was translated into the brusque movements of a hand-held camera, which leapt from one body to another in a tightened space and drew as close as possible to faces in order to scrutinize their every expression.” This compared to what Tarr advanced later, where, “The pessimism of the mature filmmaker is expressed in long sequence shot that delve into the empty depth of field surrounding individuals enclosed in their solitude.”3

Whatever his arguments to the contrary, at this point, Tarr’s aesthetic underwent an obvious transition. Given free rein to complete The Outsider and The Prefab People while at film school, Tarr had to then meet the institution’s requirements for a literary adaptation. The resulting Macbeth (1982), starring György Cserhalmi and Erzsébet Kútvölgyi, was later reproduced for television, and with cinematography by Buda Gulyás and Papp, it is the most obvious precursor to what would become Tarr’s trademark style. Macbeth only contains two shots for its entire 72-minute duration: a five-minute sequence before the credits and a 67-minute shot lasting the rest of film. Completed in 10 takes, the production is a technical tour-de-force, if a rather modest adaptation.

Béla Tarr

Almanac of Fall

Macbeth is, however, a bold stylistic exercise, and it initiated a crucial formal variant in the career of Béla Tarr, one that continued with Almanac of Fall. It cannot be said for any of Tarr’s first three films, but what immediately impresses with his fourth feature is the vibrancy of its imagery. There is also an animated and intensely obvious artificiality, a self-conscious awareness of technique that manifests itself in oblique angles, ornate set decoration, spectacularly colourful lighting, and an oftentimes indistinct arrangement of characters. Taking place in a single enclosed location, Tarr constructs Almanac of Fall in a schematic that at once opens its contained setting by way of choreographed tracks, pans, and tilts, and simultaneously restricts the visual plane with obstructed compositions and slowly revelatory movements that seem to emerge from some hidden location, peering into a room like a voyeuristic bystander.

The complex mise-en-scene of Almanac of Fall is a triumph of multilayered staging, but if it looks exceptional compared to that which came before it, the film is a thematic extension of its predecessors. Charting a few tumultuous days in the life of its contentious quintet – Hédi (Hédi Temessy), her son, János (János Derzsi), her caregiver, Anna (Erika Bodnár), Anna’s lover, Miklós (Miklós B. Székely), and a poor lodger, the teacher Tibor (Pál Hetényi) – the film exposes rifts in relationships born from domestic tension. And as would be repeated in Tarr’s films to come, these characters are their own worst enemies, burdened by conniving ulterior motives and anxieties intensified by a stifling environment. Tarr diffuses his earlier sense of improvisational interaction and instead begins to incorporate confessional musings, philosophical inquiries regarding love, acceptance, and desire, and in what become almost theatrical tête-à-têtes, the film is laden with an unremitting series of insults that give rise to brutal physical ferocity.

Aside from being the film that ushered in a formally deviating phase in Tarr’s career, Almanac of Fall is also a pivotal work in that it features the first score by Mihály Vig, a composer whose aural contributions to the director’s cinema are undeniably imperative. From this point forward, one of the defining features of a Béla Tarr film would be the music provided by Vig. As a strikingly apropos melodic counterpart to the tonal frequencies Tarr creates through movement and editing, Vig’s music, as the director has stated, “plays an equal role to the actors or the scenes or the story.”4

From his illustrious cinematographers (stunning work by Papp, Buda Gulyás, and Sándor Kardos on Almanac of Fall), to the editing by Ágnes Hranitzky, who had been with Tarr since The Outsider and became his most vital collaborator and his wife (she also contributed to Almanac of Fall’s intricate production design of opulent decay), Tarr has been more willing that most auteurs to give credit where credit is due, eventually sharing co-director or “film by” attribution with Hranitzky and others. Rightfully so, as what ultimately characterizes his filmmaking, particularly in the latter section of his career, is largely dependent on the involvement of a number of key collaborators, even if it is never quite clear who does what, as in the case of his working relationship with Hranitzky. According to cinematographer Gabor Medvigy, “Nobody really knows the nature of their work together,”5, while Hranitzky states, “I have a say in everything, but it’s always Béla who has the creative initiative”.6 Tarr himself puts it thusly: “It’s quite simple. I set most things up, in terms of the location and the set. Since the beginning, I prefer that she is there because everything happens once you get to the location, and she has a very sharp eye. She can always see if something is wrong. It’s more helpful to watch a film with four eyes, not only with two.”7

In addition to being the film in which the decisive Tarr aesthetic becomes most evident, Damnation (1988) also introduced two of Tarr’s other regular associates: novelist László Krasznahorkai, who wrote the film, and Medvigy, who also shot Tarr’s next two features. Krasznahorkai, in particular, was an exceptionally suitable collaborator. Known for his elaborate sentences – some lasting entire pages – his wording bears a strong correlation to Tarr’s style of increasingly long shot duration, through which he surveys the action (or the lack thereof) in painstakingly deliberate detail.

Béla Tarr


Such protracted movement produces an atmospheric restlessness and a mesmerizing progression, the likes of which are seen immediately in Damnation. Beginning with the clamor of coal carts clanging over the sight of murky grey desolation, a silent observer slowly emerges from the light and shadow as his surrounding are steadily revealed. From there, the pacing of the picture and the depiction of its timeworn setting work in tandem to create a pictorial destitution that is textured and profoundly sullen, where homes and buildings appear half-finished or in a state of perpetual disrepair. It is a milieu Tarr will return to, and here, the dilapidated mining town is the type of place where, as one character puts it, “The fog gets into the corners, into the lungs … It settles in your soul….” Tarr’s relationship to the environment – wet, grimy, barren – is such that interiors are irrevocably infused by external elements, the rain and mud and wind inevitably finding a way inside to tarnish floors and walls and, so it would seem, the psychology of the characters. As his films would be for the remainder of his career (even with his contention that most are comedies), Damnation is a decidedly somber film, inducing an emotionally despairing ominousness, one where even the social gatherings, once so buoyant in Tarr’s earlier films, are now inhabited by downcast mannequins, figures standing or seated half asleep, glaring in a trance-like gaze, frozen in time.

Befitting their existential vacuum, Tarr’s films begin to take on increasingly weighty substance. Not exactly religious (some critics have deemed his work “post-religious”), Tarr’s cinema is at least “cosmic.” “Everything is much bigger than us,” he has said. “I think the human is just a little part of the cosmos.”8 In Damnation, the celestially insignificant individual of focus is shabby, depressive Karrer (Miklos B. Szekely), who carries on an affair with a singer played by Vali Kerekes. He dreams of escape and aspires for success. Offered a smuggling job by the bartender at the Titanik night club, Karrer enlists the singer’s husband, Sebastyen (Gyorgy Cserhalmi), to carry out the assignment, in part to get him temporarily out of the romantic picture. Karrer seeks a way out of his life, his town, and the miserable void that confines him. As András Bálint Kovács argues, “The basic theme of all of Tarr’s films is entrapment9, and starting with Damnation, the settings grow dire, where hopelessness is but a stone’s throw from utter madness and baser instincts of survival and betrayal reign. Though it is in some part love that drives Karrer, evident in the way he spills his heart out in unreciprocated monologues, his introspection generates self-absorbed ramblings that tire others. Dispassionate lovemaking grinds away to the correlative sounds of mechanical processes and by film’s end, Karrer staggers in the mud, barking at a mangy dog in animalistic desperation to communicate. And yet, he still moves forward with that ubiquitous Tarr determination.

Béla Tarr


That same dogged attitude, that same paradoxically skeptical optimism, is what motivates the farming collective of Tarr’s next film, Sátántangó (1994). Retaining the episodic structure of Krasznahorkai’s source novel of the same name, Sátántangó is Tarr’s most ambitious film, a moody, atmospheric, and haunting 415-minute work that unnervingly progresses under an almost supernatural air of speculation. It features a cast of familiar Tarr faces, including Vig, who stars as the false prophet Irimiás and again provides an extraordinary score, Éva Almássy Albert, János Derzsi, Alfréd Járai, Miklós B. Székely, and young Erika Bók, who has only ever appeared in three films, all of them with Tarr. Opening with talk of stolen money and quick getaways, what narrative momentum there is in this shadowy suspicion halts when Tarr takes extensive narrative deviations, switching character emphasis and spectator identification, sometimes for an hour or more at a time, regardless of how inconsequential or banal the emphasis becomes. What develops from these outward digressions – the repeated speeches and Rashomon-like variances in perception – is an exhaustive portrait of a community fraught with vindictiveness and viciousness. It is a hostile climate that, over seven-plus hours, constructs and cultivates stewing aggression and post-apocalyptic despondency. Tarr poignantly suggests just how dreadfully pervasive such an existence is when he holds on Bók as she peers through a bar window and stares incomprehensibly at the sad spectacle of the town’s adults as they ramble and stumble in drunken abandon. For the young girl, this is what awaits her maturation.

The unease that develops in Sátántangó derives from the impending arrival of Irimiás, a perilous ringleader who spells either the devastation of this community or its salvation. But the disquiet also originates in the environment. Like some far-flung nether region abandoned and cut off by its treacherous climate, the torrential rains and street-sweeping winds isolate the provincial town in a barrier of mud and muck. And a foreboding unrest further emerges from mysterious bells that ring in the distance, conspiratorial overtones, and the corruptive power of money, especially when individuals are in such dire conditions. Bolstered by Tarr’s sedate pacing, the film is hypnotic, engrossing, and transcendent.

If broad questions regarding the nature of existence were implied in Sátántangó, they are front and center in Werckmeister Harmonies (2000). For a participatory audience of drunken neighbours, János Valuska (Lars Rudolph) attempts to illustrate the heavenly chaos of an eclipse, but nothing he can say or do provides practical rhyme or reason for what transpires through the course of this film, where an uncanny horror surfaces from unexplained phenomenon. Like Sátántangó, much of the anxiety in Werckmeister Harmonies has to do with conjecture, here swirling around the portentous arrival of a carnival, which showcases a large constricted whale and is hosted by an enigmatic figure known as The Prince. Rumors produce a looming dread that erupts in a nocturnal barrage of destruction, where a hostile crowd descends upon the town in what may or may not be a direct result of this bizarre circus.

It is quite possible the violent siege also has its roots in political allegory, given that Krasznahorkai’s novel, The Melancholy of Resistance, from which the film was inspired, was published in 1989, a time when communist regimes in Hungary and elsewhere were facing dramatic opposition. But as shocking and barbaric as this attack is, in any case, Werckmeister Harmonies finds some degree of emotional balance in the empathy generated by János as its main character. “The most general trait of the Tarr characters in all of his film is that they are vulnerable both socially and psychologically on the one hand, and that they are not very likable or simply evil on the other,” writes Kovács.10 And generally, this is true. While there is still no moral judgement cast by Tarr, there is also no real compassion; there is sadness but never really an amiable response. Valuska is different. He is, “Tarr’s only good and entirely harmless character who becomes a victim without having done wrong and without having been rude to anybody.”11

Béla Tarr

Werckmeister Harmonies

After Werckmeister Harmonies, Tarr started his own production company with Gábor Téni – T.T. Filmmuhely – but that did little to assuage the difficulties of his next film, The Man from London (2007). Based on the Georges Simenon novel, L’Homme de Londres, which Tarr adapted with Krasznahorkai – “It’s not an adaptation, I just loved the atmosphere of the novel,” says Tarr 12 – the film encountered an assortment of issues prior to its completion. This included location discrepancies and financial wrangles, both resulting from the suicide of producer Humbert Balsan before shooting, and the resignation of director of photography István Szaladják, who quit just two days in. That job fell to cinematographer Fred Kelemen, a student of Tarr’s when the director briefly taught at the Berlin Film Academy in the 1990s.

Perhaps owing to its popular preexisting source, The Man from London has a fairly conventional storyline compared to Tarr’s adjacent work. With a scenario that could serve as the basis for any classic film noir (indeed, the novel had been adapted twice before: The London Man [Henri Decoin, 1943], and Temptation Harbour [Lance Comfort, 1947]), the picture begins under cover of darkness as a shady interaction is viewed by an unseen witness. A briefcase exchanges hands. There is a fight. One combatant falls in the water while another flees. The observational switchman, Maloin, played by Miroslav Krobot, retrieves the case and methodically handles its contents, a cache of wet currency. Tarr lingers on this opening section, emphasizing the gravity of Maloin’s situation and his fateful decision to keep the money. Soon, however, he realizes that a stranger is aware of his transgression. Augmented by domestic contentions between he, his wife, played by Tilda Swinton, and their daughter, played by Bók, Maloin is at a pivotal crossroads. The allure of money has been a driving factor for many a Tarr protagonist, but what sets The Man from London apart from films like Damnation or Sátántangó is where the film takes place, and how the prospective fortune would be utilized. This is Tarr’s return to an urban location, where one witnesses Maloin’s workaday and social routine and where, unlike in Tarr’s more recent films, with their secluded locales, there is a palpable sense of an external life away from the realm of this particular city. Cash has a more direct and pertinent value. It can buy clothing, it can buy things for one’s house. It is not, in other words, some theoretical desire, but rather something with immediate application. This again feels like the modern world, and Maloin finds himself in a modern predicament.

The same cannot be said for Tarr’s most recent film, and by his own declaration, his last. The Turin Horse (2011) scales back Tarr’s focus in terms or narrative, scope, and style, and it positions itself firmly out of a distinct place and out of a relevant time. With an original screenplay by Krasznahorkai, the film follows in meticulously mundane detail six days in the life of farmer Ohlsdorfer (Derzsi) and his daughter (Bók). Given scarcely any spatial reprieve beyond the confines of the Ohlsdorfer home and its limited surroundings, and essentially no consequential drama for most of the film, The Turin Horse is Tarr at his most sparse; its characters are ambiguous, its plot is nominal, and its stately pace creates a palpable passage of silent, sedentary time. Though he always shot on location, Tarr was never opposed to constructed sets and the artful exaggeration produced by wind and rain machines, and in The Turin Horse, the incessant squalls emit a powerful natural reckoning that adds further strain to the routine toil of this familial duo. It also supplements what could have been, in the hands of another filmmaker, a tortuous bout of laconic repetition; this Tarr also avoids by implementing a visually appealing variance in shot size, duration, and camera movement (sometimes quite extensive, sometimes very little).

Béla Tarr

Turin Horse

The most frequent topic of Tarr’s early-period films, according to Kovács, is what the author calls “everyday hell.” “This theme is about how people make each other’s lives a living hell…” he writes. The second period films, on the other hand, are about “betrayal and conspiracy.” Exceptions to this two-part designation are The Outsider and The Turin Horse, which “tell the story of people who are totally lost and incapable of finding a way of coping with their environment, but not because they are betrayed or because other people make their lives difficult.”13 In The Turin Horse, there is some slight friction when a passing band of gypsies arrive at the farm and are promptly shooed away, or when a neighbour visits the family and speaks of a nearby town gone to ruin, prophesizing some sort of cataclysm. This Ohlsdorfer dismisses as rubbish, even if it seems to be the underlying implication of the film. However subtle it is, and however much of a slow-burn approach to tension it may take, the apocalyptic suggestiveness was evidently Tarr’s primary concern, and it was his final cinematic statement. “I want to make one more film about the end of the world, and then I will stop making films.”14 And that he did. So far.

After a little more than three decades of filmmaking, which also saw a 1995 short, Journey on the Plain, and contributions to the 1990 collective film, City Life (Tarr’s segment was a 30-minute movie based on a Krasznahorkai short story), and a 2004 omnibus project called Visions of Europe (Tarr’s segment, Prologue, follows a massive breadline in a single, somber tracking show), Tarr concluded his directorial career. A host of international plaudits followed, as did a teaching post at the film.factory at the Sarajevo School of Science and Technology and an exhibition, “Till The End of the World,” at the EYE Museum in Amsterdam.

Whether he holds to his retirement or not, the work Béla Tarr has left behind will endure as a remarkable anthology of individual achievement and artistic vision. With films taking place in desolate locales, largely among poor, rural communities, where humanity’s exposed futility is undeniable, Tarr found an ironic humor in a bleak world. His dystopian landscapes are battered by inclement weather (starting in 1987, all of his films were shot from November through March) and are populated by aimless and alienated individuals. He has stated a dislike for conventional narrative, resting comfortably unopposed to stories where nothing seemingly happens, and he eschewed storyboards and rarely utilized a standard script. The dramas that unfold from this liberal formula are endemic with equal parts wonder, anguish, and mystery. For Tarr, who wanted to be a philosopher as young man, his concentration ultimately moved past the social, the cultural, or the national – it is ontological and cosmical. And it is entirely his own. “I was developing my own language, my film language,” Tarr acknowledges. “I went deeper and deeper…with The Turin Horse, I arrived at the point where the work is complete, the language is done. I don’t want to use my film language for repeating something. I can’t. I don’t want to be boring.”15



Hotel Magnezit (1978)
Family Nest (1979) also writer
The Outsider (1982) also writer
The Prefab People (1982) also writer
Macbeth (1982) also writer
Almanac of Fall (1984) also writer
Damnation (1988) also writer
Utolsó hajó (1990) also writer
City Life (1990)
Satantango (1994) also writer
Journey on the Plain (1995)
Werckmeister Harmonies (2000) also writer and producer
Visions of Europe (2004)
The Man from London (2007) also writer and producer
The Turin Horse (2011) also writer


Select Bibliography

Kovács, András Bálint. The Cinema of Béla Tarr: The Circle Closes. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013.)

Rancière, Jacques, Béla Tarr, The Time After. (Minneapolis, MN: Univocal Publishing, 2013.)


Articles in Senses of Cinema

Waiting for the Prince – An Interview with Béla Tarr, by Fergus Daly and Maximilian Le Cain  http://sensesofcinema.com/2001/feature-articles/tarr-2/

Hope Deep Within – Béla Tarr’s Werckmeister Harmonies by Gabe Klinger  http://sensesofcinema.com/2000/eastern-european-cinema/tarr/

Tarrying With the Nothing: Asking Anew Heidegger’s Question of Being in the cinema of Bela Tarr by Tan Xing Long Ian  http://sensesofcinema.com/2014/feature-articles/tarrying-with-the-nothing-asking-anew-heideggers-question-of-being-in-the-cinema-of-bela-tarr/



  1. Eric Kohn, “An Interview With Bela Tarr: Why He Says ‘The Turin Horse’ Is His Final Film,” IndieWire, (February 2012), http://www.indiewire.com/2012/02/an-interview-with-Béla-tarr-why-he-says-the-turin-horse-is-his-final-film-242518
  2. Ben Croll, “Bela Tarr Speaks: The Retired Hungarian Director Explains Why He Shut Down His Film School Project,” IndieWire, (December 2016),  http://www.indiewire.com/2016/12/Béla-tarr-interview-marrakech-film-school-1201762173
  3. Rancière, Jacques, Béla Tarr, The Time After. (Minneapolis, MN: Univocal Publishing, 2013.), p. 4.
  4. Kovács, András Bálint. The Cinema of Béla Tarr: The Circle Closes. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013.), p. 18
  5. Kovács, p. 20.
  6. Kovács, p. 20.
  7. R. Emmet Sweeney, “Interview: Béla Tarr, the Complete Works,” Film Comment, (February, 2012), https://www.filmcomment.com/blog/interview-Béla-tarr-the-complete-works
  8. Fergus Daly and Maximilian Le Cain, “Waiting for the Prince – An Interview with Béla Tarr,” Senses of Cinema, (February, 2001), http://sensesofcinema.com/2001/feature-articles/tarr-2
  9. Kovács, p. 99.
  10. Kovács, p. 155.
  11. Kovács, p. 160.
  12. Sweeney.
  13. Kovács, p. 99.
  14. Kovács, p. 99.
  15. Geoffrey Macnab, “Bela Tarr interview: why he won’t return to feature filmmaking,” Screen Daily (January, 2017.),  http://www.screendaily.com/iffr-Béla-tarr-interview-why-he-wont-return-to-feature-filmmaking/5114226.article

About The Author

Jeremy Carr is a faculty associate at Arizona State University and a visiting research fellow with the ASU Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture. He has written for Cineaste, Film International, CineAction, Cinema Retro, MUBI’s Notebook, Vague Visages, Movie Mezzanine, Cut Print Film, Bright Lights Film Journal, and The Moving Image.

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