Unlike most filmmakers who retire, Béla Tarr has actually stuck to this word. 2011’s “The Turin Horse” was indeed the Hungarian luminary’s final work, and a fitting swan song for a decades-long career that spawned several masterworks. At the top of that list is “Sátántangó,” Tarr’s 432-minute opus, which remains difficult to see 24 years after it was first released and has never been released on Blu-ray.
Until now, that is: Arbelos Films is working on a 4K restoration of the film, which will be re-released in theaters early next year with a Blu-ray/VOD release to follow. A boutique film distributor and digital restoration company, the Los Angeles–based Arbelos is also working on a 4K update of Dennis Hopper’s “The Last Movie.”
Set in a remote Hungarian village whose residents’ plan to leave is complicated by the return of a man they once thought dead, the film is co-written, like many of Tarr’s works, by the novelist László Krasznahorkai. “Sátántangó” is divided into 12 nonlinear parts and shot in black and white, with some takes lasting as long as 10 uninterrupted minutes. In the 2012 version of Sight & Sound’s critics’ poll, it was named the 36th greatest film of all time.
Arbelos also represents the Cinelicious Pics film library, including Toshio Matsumoto’s “Funeral Parade of Roses,” Agnès Varda’s “Jane B. par Agnès V.,” and Tim Sutton’s “Dark Night.” Since retiring from filmmaking, Tarr has been teaching.