Rather than in terms of fiction or reality, Béla Tarr’s cinema can be perceived as a creative exploration that is neither realistic nor non-realistic, but the sum-total of our dealings with the world around. The absence of a storyline, non professional actors, found locations and long shots uninterrupted by editing, carefully thought through and choreographed at the same time, are the effect of this exploration. The director refuses to tell a story, but his aesthetics move beyond that of social realism. In this sense the sombre image of Hungary that denes the mood and style of the films can be thought of not as realistic representation of the world, nor as the metaphysical beyond, but as an event, a situation locked in a wandering movement in which anything or nothing can happen, both real and virtual (Gilles Deleuze). Here the world, the film, the viewer and the outside are intertwined in the process of becoming (Deleuze). Drawing on Deleuze’s proposition of time/thinking image, the article explores the imagery of Béla Tarr’s later films Damnation (Kárhozat, 1989), Satan’s Tango (Sátántangó, 1994) and Werckmeister Harmonies (Werckmeister harmóniák, 2000) in terms of the real (rather than realistic) and the creative (rather than fictional).
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