This screening, brought to you by the A Nos Amours film club, is part of the Scalarama season which runs throughout September.
Here is the ICA introduction:
This legendary film, running at 7 hours 12 minutes, deals with the collapse of a collectivised Soviet-era farm in rural Hungary. There is the scent of money in the air, and, in chaotic and changeable times, a yearning for meaning and salvation. At such times it is inevitable that prophets and Messiahs will be longed and waited for. The question is whether they will be false prophets, or mere charlatans. In the chilly, bleak rotten world of Sátántangó, who will follow who, and why, are left wonderfully uncertain. These are ordinary human concerns, but it is the vastness of the landscape, the featureless plains and endless horizons, and a terrifying, unremitting wind from nowhere, and a rain that falls without end, that threatens to wash away all human hope. Signature long takes, often as long as the 10 minutes that a roll of film allows, combined with astonishing camera choreography offers a sublime cinema experience. To commit to Sátántangó is to commit to the unforgettable and life-changing: these are the outer limits of cinema. The screening is on 35mm.
Chicago Reader review:
How can I do justice to this grungy seven-hour black comedy (1994), in many ways my favorite film of the 90s? Adapted by Hungarian filmmaker Bela Tarr and Laszlo Krasznahorkai from the latter's 1985 novel, this is a diabolical piece of sarcasm about the dreams, machinations, and betrayals of a failed farm collective, set during a few rainy fall days (two of them rendered more than once from the perspectives of different characters). The form of the novel was inspired by the steps of the tango—six forward, six backward—an idea reflected by the film's overlapping time structure, 12 sections, and remarkable choreographed long takes and camera movements. The subject of this brilliantly constructed narrative is nothing less than the world today, and its 431-minute running time is necessary not because Tarr has so much to say, but because he wants to say it right. In Hungarian with subtitles.
Here (and above) is an extract.