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The Cinema of Béla TarrThe Circle Closes$
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András Bálint Kovács

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165310

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165310.001.0001

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Narration in the Tarr Films

Narration in the Tarr Films

(p.99) Chapter Five Narration in the Tarr Films
The Cinema of Béla Tarr

András Bálint Kovács

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines four aspects of Tarr's narration that are more or less constant in his oeuvre: banality of narrative events; slowness of narration and suspense; static situations and circular narrative form. Manifestations of these four aspects in individual films are also discussed. The basic building block of Tarr films is the banality, or the unexceptional, everyday character, of the events. At his best Tarr can render even the most excessive or exceptional event an everyday banality that has no effect on the characters' way of life. Slowness of narration is a cornerstone of the Tarr style and one of the main ingredients of the circular structure—a structure producing the feeling that the return is inevitable. Circularity of dramatic form characterizes stories in which characters go through a series of events but these events do not get them closer to the solution to their initial problem. Not only does this remain unresolved, but at the end they lose the perspective to resolve it that they may have had at the beginning. At the end of the film they find themselves in a situation that is the same as or worse than before.

Keywords:   narrative features, banality, narration, suspense, static situations, circular narrative form, Béla Tarr, Hungarian film directors, filmmakers

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