A collective farm in disarray. A messianic agitator. And lots of mud & rain. Yes, it's the infamous 7 hour movie, all in Bela Tarr's trademark style: arty black & white cinematography, long slow takes, tracking shots & zooms. The style recalls Tarkovsky but the sensibility is completely different - relentlessly downbeat, squalid & cynical, a bit like Aki Kaurismaki without the jokes. So you get a doctor drinking himself to death, a cat being tortured & a suicidal little girl taking rat poison - all depicted in slow real time takes. It's uncomfortable viewing not because it's boring but because it gets almost too intense.
This is definitely film making of the highest order with stunning images & a very clever interlocking narrative structure, but I found Satantango harder going than his earlier film Damnation. That film had a more focused setting, plot & characterisation whereas Satantango is rather weighed down with enigmatic surrealism & allegorical overtones. I hesitate to recommend Satantango - various criticisms could be levelled at the film & it is certainly not for the uninitiated, but if you know Bela Tarr's work (particularly if you enjoyed Werckmeister Harmonies) or have an interest in good old European art house cinema then you should get this DVD - it's a unique film for sure.
(Nice to see some of the other Amazon reviews here are complaining that the film is too short!)