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Damnation [DVD] [1988]

Vali Karekes , Gyorgy Cserhalmi , Bela Tarr    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: £4.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Damnation [DVD] [1988] + Werckmeister Harmonies [DVD] + The Man from London [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Vali Karekes, Gyorgy Cserhalmi, Miklos Szekely, Hedi Temessy
  • Directors: Bela Tarr
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Hungarian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 6 April 2009
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001R65FJC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 49,190 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

In a small Hungarian town lives Karrer, a listless and brooding man who has almost completely withdrawn from the world, but for an obsession with a singer in the bar he frequents. The first film in which Hungarian auteur Béla Tarr s fully realised his mesmerising and apocalyptic world view is an immaculately photographed and composed study of eternal conflict: the centuries-old struggle between barbarism and civilization. Special Features: Interview with Béla Tarr

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Condemnation by God 24 April 2010
A cable car is bringing rocks from a nearby quarry over a desolate and grey landscape in central Hungary. As the camera slowly pans back we see a lonely man staring out of the window as he smokes his cigarette. So begins Bela Tarr's evocative picture based around the obsessions of a listless man named Karrer. Like his later film Werckmeister Harmonies, Damnation is a slow moving and intriguing look into the despair of life. It is a staggering work of beauty and pain.

Tarr is clearly influenced by Tarkovsky in that he feels no need to use pace in order to fill a movie with drama. All of the action comes about thorough allusions to feelings of loneliness, loss and confusion. However his visual style also has many allusions to the great European stylists of the 30's who moved to Hollywood and formed the backbone to the Film Noir movement. One scene in particular starts outside a run down club with rain pouring as fog rebounds from the tarmac, a man stands alone in the shadows, and the only light is provided by the eerie neon sign.

This film is the work of an absolute genius who makes no concessions with regards to his vision. As with all Tarr's major works the score is provided by Mihaly Vig who once again manages to hit the nail on the head with a woozy, Eastern European jazz inflected soundtrack. To get an understanding of the films themes I will finish with the English translations of a song that the singer in the bar, who Karrer is obsessed with, sings during the monumental "Titanik Bar" scene:

"It's finished.
It's all over.
And there won't be another.
It won't be good.
Ever again.
Never More.
Maybe Never More".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Poignantly atmospheric and existentialistic..." 23 May 2012
By Sindri
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Hungarian screenwriter, producer and director Béla Tarr`s fifth feature film which he co-wrote with his frequent collaborator, Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai, was produced by Jósef Marx and is a Hungarian production which was screened in the Forum section at the 38th Berlin International Film Festival in 1988. It tells the story about Karrer, a desolate middle-aged man who lives a rather isolated life in a small Hungarian town. Karrer`s is deeply in love with a woman he once had a relationship with who is now a married mother and a torch singer at a local bar called titanik. Considering her his only reason for existing, he does everything in his power to capture her attention and believes that he has found a way when he is offered a shady job. Determined to regain the love of his life, Karrer offers the job to her husband.

Distinctly and subtly directed by modernist filmmaker Béla Tarr, this visually remarkable fictional tale, draws an acute portrayal of a disillusioned man`s personal crusade for love in an uncivilized rural society. While notable for its distinct milieu depictions, the prominent art direction by Hungarian-born actor, costume designer and production designer Gyula Pauer, black-and-white cinematography by Hungarian cinematographer Gábor Medvigy, the fine editing by Ágnes Hranitzky and the way Béla Tarr creates continuity within a quietly paced story where the dialog is sparse, this character-driven neo-noir depicts a condensed and internal study of character and contains a cogent score by Béla Tarr`s frequent collaborator, Hungarian composer Mihály Vig.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Tim Kidner TOP 500 REVIEWER
A bleak sense of the unreal hangs heavy over every scene of this atmospherically oppressive black and white 'apocalyptic film-noir', from Hungarian director, Bela Tarr.

With a bar full of chatter-less men, accompanied by the odd clack from a pool table ball, a lone accordion laments. I so pictured Greta Garbo, or Marlene Dietrich half drawling, half wailing into the microphone, in another scene at the seedy Titanik Club. Known in the credits only as 'the singer', our subject is the forlorn Vali Kerekes, usually looking straggled by the rain, or just life itself, as she aimlessly - and toxically, a predatory abuser of all the men she has contact with, floats in and out of her life.

True, Tarr's unrelenting melancholic, drifting camera, wafting like the blankets of fog, black and white images that evoke an earnest socio documented photo assignment from times past, won't ever be considered essential viewing at The Samaritans. However, there is a certain dreary prose to it all, that perhaps, this is what love and life is really like - and about.

Sliding into an image, cinematographer Gabor Medivgy, meticulously composes every frame, even the most mundane. Sound is a key part to Tarr's work; a scene will almost be static, seemingly for many minutes (but actually seconds), such as the lovers embraced, naked, to the monotonous mechanical sound of the rail depot, the camera then swings so slowly round the room, to an image in the mirror of the couple now silently making love, then sweeping at the same speed to an old piano. This is simply masterful - a masterclass for all those interested in the art of film-making.

I could go on, but will say that Damnation shouldn't be anyone's introduction to World, or indeed, Hungarian cinema.
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