This week in Film — SÁTÁNTANGÓ and slow cinema

After a few weeks off from the weekly grind of the newspaper business, I’m back and making up for the absence in running time: 450 minutes, more or less, with the restored release of the Hungarian masterpiece, Sátántangó.

Based on the novel of the same name by László Krasznahorkai, Sátántangó is what every book lover clamors for when they hear their beloved tome is headed for the silver screen. No scene is left out, and the narration is taken verbatim from the text. The result, a seven-and-a-quarter-hour story of a remote Hungarian village in October — just as the cold autumn rain starts to fall.

It rains constantly. The wind blows trash and dead leaves with hurricane force. The roads are thick with slippery mud, and everything looks cold. The faces of the villagers don’t look any better: Craggy, wrinkled and often inebriated. Even when they gather to dance in the town tavern, things get dicey. A drunk loudly tries to recount a story with the oral patter of Lawrence Ferlinghetti while the accordion player tries to drown him out with a repetitive melody. And a buxom wife tries to summon an ounce of jealousy from her husband. But he’s too deep into his cups to care. All of them are. Outside, the town doctor falls in the mud, and a young girl walks around with a dead cat and a box of rat poison. Casablanca, this is not.

Boulder Weekly Vol. 27, No. 37, Back in the saddle: IFS’ virtual theater brings ‘Sátántangó’ home

Not enough slow cinema for you? Worry not, I’ve got four more recommendations to stream right now in our newly renovated “Home Viewing” section: Twin Peaks: The Return, Solaris, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, and Manakamana.

Twenty-first-century viewers have been so accustomed to images that they gobble them up in fractions of a second. Slow cinema retards that consumption, expands it and forces viewers to reconsider what they are seeing and the speed they see it. It’s like reciting a mantra: The words take on a different meaning after you’ve uttered them 100 times.

These movies require patience, but they also reward it. If the world seems too chaotic and hectic, even while your sitting still, give one of these a stream and see if they don’t slow things down.

What to do when there’s ‘nothing’ to do: Slow cinema for slow days.