Autumn Almanac (1984) - Bela Tarr
Well who wants to see a bunch of miserable people try and make life more miserable for each other? If you answered yes, you have some issues you need to deal with and you should also check out this film. Perhaps because I was just thinking about the film, but this reminds me a little of the tormenting family in Zanussi's Family Life. Whereas in that film people existed for the sole purpose of making their family miserable, this group has some agenda, and of course it involves money.
The whole film is masked in darkness. Tarr tints nearly every image, and most of the picture is shrouded in blue. The takes are moderate, but certainly not the epic shots that earned Tarr his current reputation. The film is heavy on dialogue in parts, and comes off more as a chamber drama than anything else. You could see a film like this working on the stage, and therefore the actors give a theatrical performance to it. The words are spoken with some angst, and nearly everyone is prone to violence.
I was hoping my first Tarr film would be characteristic, hence the reason I avoided the three films already on DVD, but alas I'll have to wait a little longer before I can make him out as a director. I can however assess this particular work as a film in and of itself. It's not the most spectacular of films, and certainly can wear your resistance down (as many gloomy films can), but there is something intriguing in the misery.