This chapter deals with the characters in Béla Tarr's films. His characters belong to the general conception of his films rather than to the individual stories. While each story has its particular characters, they represent identifiable types and many are very similar to each other. The chapter considers the social status and personal traits of Tarr's characters as well as their lack of development during the story. It also discusses how his films explore the same basic problem: the problem of human dignity in extreme moral and existential circumstances, which makes a moralizing attitude impossible. His films represent an existential situation from which there is no escape, which is in itself demoralizing, and which is rendered even more serious by moral failures. Tarr represents characters who are at the terminal phase of their struggle for saving their human dignity. They are about to lose this struggle, and their survival has long ago been taken out of their hands, but as long as they live, they try to save their dignity.
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