bela tarr best movies

Best of Bela Tarr through His Philosophical World


Bela Tarr – one of the master international filmmakers of all time. Though his films are quite unique and don’t follow the mainstream public, he has notably created his own footsteps in the world film industry. In this article, we will see the world of Bela Tarr through his world-class movies.

As a filmmaking student or international movie lover, it is a must to study for such masters like Bela Tarr. He creates a unique difference in every movie that differentiates him from other filmmakers. His opinion on life shows uniqueness through all his movies. With no such decoration as most mainstream movies do, his films hugely got acceptance into the critics’ world.


Not only Satantango, Damnation, or even The Turin Horse, every movie carries Bela Tarr’s signature. Philosophies, metaphorical elements, gradual development of the story, and long takes (he is actually called the master of long takes) are all elements of his movies.

Read – 10 Must-See Werner Herzog Movies and Documentaries

Best Movies of Bela Tarr

  1. Satantango (1994)

What’s special about this movie is its usage of metaphors. This enriches the aesthetic of the movie. If anything about one of the longest movies ever made in the history of cinema then Satantango is one of them. With 7 parts, the film goes on and on.


Before becoming a World-renowned filmmaker, Bela Tarr showed his crafts through other films though Satantango became the most important film in his career that opened the pathway to several intellectual films later. Among all the Bela Tarr movies, Satantango is the longest film over 7 hours.

  1. Damnation (1988)

The film tells the story of Karrer, a lonely man who lives in a small Hungarian town and becomes entangled in a love triangle with a singer and a married woman. It’s known for its dark and moody atmosphere, slow and deliberate pacing, and themes such as isolation, despair, and the destructive power of love.

Throughout the film, Karrer is shown as a man struggling to come to terms with his loneliness and his unfulfilled desires. He becomes infatuated with a singer named Irma, who is involved in an abusive relationship with a married man. Karrer offers to help Irma escape from her abusive partner, hoping that she will fall in love with him in return. However, Irma is not interested in Karrer and only sees him as a friend.


As the film progresses, Karrer becomes increasingly desperate and isolated. He begins to drink heavily and spends his nights wandering the empty streets of the town. Eventually, he hatches a plan to rob a factory in order to make enough money to run away with Irma. The robbery goes wrong, and Karrer ends up taking his own life.

“Damnation” is known for its moody and atmospheric cinematography, which makes heavy use of low lighting and shadowy interiors. The film is also notable for its sparse dialogue and its focus on visual storytelling.

  1. Werckmeister Harmonies (2000)

The film is based on the novel “The Melancholy of Resistance” by László Krasznahorkai. The story reveals a small Hungarian town that is thrown into chaos when a traveling circus comes to town.


The film’s protagonist is János, a local librarian who becomes fascinated by the circus and its charismatic leader, known as “The Prince”. As the circus begins to perform in the town’s square, strange and unsettling events begin to occur. The town’s residents become increasingly agitated and paranoid, and rumors begin to spread that the circus is a symbol of an impending apocalypse.

Throughout the film, János becomes increasingly obsessed with the circus and its leader. He begins to see them as symbols of a larger cosmic struggle between chaos and order.

From the cinematography perspective, it’s also notable for its use of stark black-and-white imagery, which helps to create a haunting and otherworldly atmosphere. Overall, “Werckmeister Harmonies” is a haunting and thought-provoking film that explores complex philosophical themes in a visually stunning and emotionally resonant way.

  1. Almanac of Fall (1984)

It’s a story of a wealthy woman named Mrs. Schmidt who lives in a large apartment building with her daughter and their servants. The film is structured around a series of conversations between Mrs. Schmidt and three men who live in the building: a former aristocrat, a disillusioned socialist, and a young man who is obsessed with money.

Bela Tarr uses slow and deliberate pacing, long takes, and static camera shots. We can safely say that Tarr was preparing to make a unique position in the industry. Throughout the film, Mrs. Schmidt is shown as a woman who is struggling to come to terms with her own mortality and the decline of her social status. She is also shown as a woman who is desperately trying to hold onto her power and influence, even as her world crumbles around her.

  1. The Turin Horse (2011)

In my life, this is one of the best Bela Tarr movies I have ever seen. It’s a haunting and thought-provoking film that explores complex philosophical themes with powerful simplicity. It tells the story of an elderly farmer and his daughter who live a harsh and monotonous existence in a small village in rural Hungary. 


The film’s title is inspired by an incident in the life of Friedrich Nietzsche, who reportedly witnessed a horse being beaten in the streets of Turin, Italy, and subsequently suffered a mental breakdown. As the film progresses, the lives of the farmer and his daughter become increasingly difficult. And we see that they are struggling to survive in a harsh and unforgiving landscape.

It is a masterful work of cinema showcasing Béla Tarr’s unique style and vision. Also, the film is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of the 21st century.

  1. The Man from London (2007)

A lonely signalman, Maloin works in a remote railway station in a coastal town. One night, Maloin witnesses a murder and decides to keep the money that the murderer throws into the sea.


The black-and-white cinematography, by Fred Kelemen, is stunning and adds to the film’s moody atmosphere. The movie was praised for its technical mastery and the performances of its cast, especially Miroslav Krobot, who plays Maloin.

“The Man from London” received critical acclaim and was screened at several film festivals, including the Cannes Film Festival. The film was also nominated for the Palme d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007. It is considered one of Béla Tarr’s best works and a masterpiece of contemporary cinema.

The Time After

If you want to know more about the person, then read Bela Tarr, The Time After. It explores the films of Bela Tarr. You will notice his deep philosophy throughout the book.



Rabi Chatterjee

My love for films grew from the initial period of theatre life. Since then, I have become a big film-addicted person. After finishing almost over 4k movies in various languages, I see films as a remedy for the psychological well-being of a person. Watching movies, especially good movies, is like experiencing life through someone else. Founder at Filmo Maniac

View all posts by Rabi Chatterjee →

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