Béla Tarr’s Motifs

Kubrick, Tarantino, Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, Scorsese, Fincher. This half dozen of directors seem to monopolize the attention of video essay makers: an inordinate amount of videos have been produced on their work. More obscure arthouse filmmakers have a difficult time attracting the same level of scrutiny (with the notable exception maybe of Tarkovsky). That is just one reason why this video essay about Béla Tarr is a welcome change.


The other reasons are the careful construction of this piece and its understated perceptiveness. The side-by-side montage reveals recurring visual motifs in Tarr’s oeuvre with unhurried elegance. Most of the studies of Tarr (understandably) center on the slowness of his films and his long-take aesthetics. Which is why a side-by-side supercut may seem like a strange choice of format to tackle this auteur. That the supercut format doesn’t jar with Tarr’s visuals is also testament to the clever composition of KINO’s piece.