Tejút (2007)

25 01 2009

I’m not quite ready to call Benedek Fliegauf a genius, but one thing is for sure, he (and his films) are absolutely fascinating. Now, the actual experience of watching this film or Dealer is not what gets to me. It’s after I’ve watched his films that I begin to realize how the bizarre beauty of his work. His latest film is a 75 minute collection of plotless sketches, all of which are told through very long static shots. Polarizing would be a pretty good way to describe it. The hate that Fliegauf is likely to accumulate for such a picture is overwhelming, but I’m still busy thinking about it. I’m not sure what I’m thinking about, as I doubt he intended to make some obscure symbolic gesture. Whatever the case, it seems like a long time since a film has, for better or worse, stayed with me so vividly.

Taking all that into account, it be easy to deduce that I absolutely love Fliegauf’s experiment and maybe I do, but on the other hand, maybe I don’t. Okay, this so ridiculous, but it speaks to just how odd it is to watch each little sequence unfold. An argument could be made that this is something of a comedy, akin to Tati, had he smoked pot. But the content is never all that humorous. More often than not, the extremely deadpan tone leads to a very subtle visual punchline, but it never amounts to a “purpose.”

None of the sketches in this film show any signs of an arc. They’re just tragic moments that move at a glacial pace, but that’s why it is so fascinating to watch. Things move achingly slow, but there is a suspense created, which is odd considering that it goes completely against the lack of drama. That element isn’t exactly groundbreaking or new, Fliegauf just takes it to its most extreme point.

It’s difficult to stress just how slow and long the film is without sounding a little bit repetative. I’ll leave at this: a longtime Tsai fan, such as myself, is going to struggle with the pace of this movie. I haven’t seen Kiarostami’s Five but it seems very likely that it has a similar tone. This is probably a good litmus test for just how much someone is in to “minimalism” which is a greatly overused term that seems to have lost all meaning, but I’d like to believe people understand what I mean. I’m not sure I ever want to physically experience this film again, of course because it is so slow, but more importantly because I like how it plays in my head a lot better than it does on a screen.




One response

18 06 2009
uncle, make-up and films « banno, dhanno and teja

[…] film I saw at IFFI, Goa last year. Milky Way/Tejut (2007) by Benedik Fliegauf, Hungary. Curiously, the review I link to, mentions Tati […]

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