The Man from London

A Londoni férfi

Director: Béla Tarr
Year: 2007
Country: Hungary
Running time: 135 mins
Hungary/France/Germany
Co-director/Editor: Ágnes Hranitzky
Screenplay: László Krasznahorkai, Béla Tarr.  Based on the novel by Georges Simenon
Photography: Fred Kelemen
Music: Mihály Víg
In French and English, with English subtitles
B&W/M offensive language

With: Miroslav Krobot, Tilda Swinton, Erika Bók, János Derzsi, Ági Szirtes, István Lénárt

Festivals: Cannes (In Competition), Toronto, New York, Vancouver 2007
A new film from Béla Tarr (Satantango, Werckmeister Harmonies), Hungarian master of the slow-burning sequence shot, is always an event. The Man from London, shot in photogenically ramshackle Corsica, is adapted from a Georges Simenon novel, so it's nominally a detective film. But although it contains some astonishing film noir photography, Tarr's magisterial long-take style transcended genre long ago. The story, involving a port signalman who witnesses a murder and makes off with the loot, unfolds obliquely through a series of precisely crafted mobile shots that follow ordinary actions at length, while more substantial plot developments may be happening off-screen or deep in the background. It's an atypical way of telling a story, but absolutely compelling if you surrender to the stunning photography, hypnotic camera movement and the mournful score that emerges from and recedes into the ambient drone of the port town. — AL

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