Satantango

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Meanwhile, each chapter consists of one long paragraph with not a single line break. Within each endless paragraph the individual sentences are often several lines long. The characteristic, if relatively short, opening sentence reads: "One morning near the end of October not long before the first drops of the mercilessly long autumn rains began to fall on the cracked and saline soil on the western side of the estate later the stinking yellow sea of mud would render footpaths impassable and put the town too beyond reach Futaki woke to hear bells.

At one point the wind moves through the trees like a "helpless hand searching through a dusty book for some vanished main clause"; the reader feels something comparable. In short, Krasznahorkai writes in the high modernist style. The premise and the characters of Irimias and Petrina clearly owe something to Beckett. The unattributed epigraph — "In that case, I'll miss the thing by waiting" — comes from Kafka's The Castle.

My name is tango - Sátántangó

And, as in Kafka, a depiction of life in an oppressive modern state shades into allegory. The setting is clearly Hungary under communism Krasznahorkai was born in , and Satantango was his first novel and the plot seems to gesture towards the country's disastrous attempt at forced agricultural collectivisation.

Critic’s Choice: Béla Tarr’s ‘The Turin Horse,’ ‘Sátántangó' are not to be missed

But Krasznahorkai keeps it vague and fairly abstract. Twentieth-century alienation is expressed in quasi-medieval forms: Satantango is shot through with religious imagery and intimations of revelation, from Futaki's bells and Irimias's "resurrection" onwards. Modernism mostly features in recent western writing as just another style to rip off, either jazzed up with pop cultural goodies Paul Auster , or as more or less amusing pastiche — see, respectively, Italo Calvino or Tom McCarthy.

In Satantango , it feels like the real thing: a horrified reaction to a world without meaning. Equally, of course, this is probably not everyone's idea of a good time. Satantango was made into a beautiful but gruelling seven-hour black and white film by Bela Tarr , famous for its insanely long shots. Reading the book is a similar experience. Even in Hungary, Krasznahorkai is regarded as forbidding, not least because Satantango is his most accessible book. In the words of one Hungarian critic, "The grandeur is clearly palpable, but people do not seem to know what to do with it.

Nevertheless, this is an obviously brilliant novel. He is master of the body politic Krasznahorkai calls Hungary, and the rot and decay everywhere are metaphorically extensions of his body. For all his animus against the captain, Irimias will go on operating according to his nature as a Security operative. Here, belonging to the security apparatus is synonymous with diabolism, and since in any full-fledged totalitarian state everyone can be turned into an informer, the renegade Irimias will work toward creating his own spy network when he gets his mitts on the peasants.

So what happens when Irimias and Petrina finally descend on the dilapidated estate? All hell breaks loose, for one. But, in effect, the hapless peasants ultimately join the security apparatus themselves. Irimias lets a selected group of peasants think that they are being sent around the country for safe keeping until he can delivers them to a collective Utopia. They will have no such luck. Krasznahorkai has, moreover, imbued the security apparatus with darker overtones that transcend its daily machinations and particular abuses. His real target, finally, is evil itself.


  • Satantango in English.
  • Sátántangó | MIFF ;
  • Syn:Fin.

In the world of Satantango , everything is caught up in an infernal dance. As the peasants drunkenly await Irimias, they dance the tango and the czardas , and when they fall asleep exhausted, spiders creep out of the woodwork and cover the entire bar, drunks included:. The table- and chair-legs were woven into a cocoon and then—with the aid of one or another secret narrow strand—they were all connected up, as if it were a matter of some importance that they, flattened in their secret, remote corners, should be properly advised of every slight tremor, each microscopic shift, and would be so as long as this strange, all-but-invisible network remained intact.

These people are enmeshed in an infernal web. And it leaves its mark in myriad ways.

Satantango – Variety

Callous egocentrism reigns. By the time Irimias sets out for the estate, its inhabitants have driven one character—Esti, a child who seems slightly demented—to commit suicide at a ruined castle close by. At one point, Irimias and Petrina leave to haggle for arms in town. Is this a genuine resurrection or an evil game played by dark forces? But we do not depend on their eyes alone.

Naturally, our Hungarian homeland is part of this process. In the new geological circumstances the hill masses of the Paleozoic era sink ever lower until they reach rock bottom, at which point the sedimental sea inundates and covers them.

He has spent so long recording the doings of the idiots on the estate that at one point he believes he can intervene in their lives by writing them down. When the veil is ripped from his inner eye, he gives himself over to a kind of clairvoyant vision of the small world of the estate. He rubbed the bridge of his nose, adjusted his glasses then propped his elbows on the table and put his head in his hands. He saw before him, as clear as if by magic, the path prepared for him, the way the fog swam up from either side of it and, in the middle of the narrow path, the luminous face of his future, its lineaments bearing the infernal marks of drowning.

One morning near the end of October not long before the first drops of the mercilessly long autumn rains began to fall on the cracked and saline soil on the western side of the estate later the stinking yellow sea of mud would render footpaths impassable and put the town too beyond reach Futaki woke to hear bells. In his disillusion with the Satanic system and his full awareness of its extensive toils, the doctor goes on to suspect that the entire cosmological system of the world precludes the possibility of salvation, symbolized in this novel by the ringing of bells.

Rather, it is that all this literary material binds us to the writer as accomplices in his vision.

We are somehow altered by having seen the characters and their world along with him, while we read and he writes. Join us on Nov.

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Click for more info and to RSVP. As the peasants drunkenly await Irimias, they dance the tango and the czardas , and when they fall asleep exhausted, spiders creep out of the woodwork and cover the entire bar, drunks included: The table- and chair-legs were woven into a cocoon and then—with the aid of one or another secret narrow strand—they were all connected up, as if it were a matter of some importance that they, flattened in their secret, remote corners, should be properly advised of every slight tremor, each microscopic shift, and would be so as long as this strange, all-but-invisible network remained intact These people are enmeshed in an infernal web.

Later, he writes: One morning near the end of October not long before the first drops of the mercilessly long autumn rains began to fall on the cracked and saline soil on the western side of the estate later the stinking yellow sea of mud would render footpaths impassable and put the town too beyond reach Futaki woke to hear bells.