The Pretense of Arthouse Movie Pretention

empty seats of the cinema
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on

If you are of the persuasion to roll your eyes and shake your head in dismissive disbelief when hearing the terms arthouse or slow cinema, wondering how anyone could suffer through such pretentious nonsense, perhaps a la El Toro as discussed in a couple of blathering posts ago, then you need to watch something/anything from the Hungarian auteur – and I do not use the auteur designator lightly as many seem to do nowadays (I’m looking at you Mubi) – Béla Tarr.

Now, admittedly, there are some serious stinkers when it comes to arthouse, but that can be said of any genre. When doing my laborious nightly scroll in search of a fresh flick to fetish over, I often find myself in complete and utter disbelief at the quantity of cinematic detritus there is out there. Sometimes it feels like I’m trying to scroll through all the waste in all the landfills of the world.

I mean, it seems like for every Tangerine (thank you Sean Baker) or My Own Private Idaho (thank you Gus Van Sandt) produced, there are hundreds of brain mass reducing messes made that never should have gotten past the point of being a bad idea let alone being allowed on even the most obscure and unwatched streaming service.

But alas, art is hard and as we know and as was stated during our recent cult classics post, someone’s cinematic trash is another’s treasure.

Now, if you typically are down on arthouse films and/or this is your first introduction to Béla Tarr, I certainly wouldn’t dive straight into his seven-hour masterpiece Sátántangó, which is why I am recommending one of a little bit lighter fare, of his anyway, in The Turin Horse. It’s one not much in the way of dialogue, but it is everything in the way of art and how great the potential of cinema can be.

You can watch it, Sátántangó, and a couple of others of Tarr’s work on Mubi.

Mubi synopsis: After witnessing a carriage driver whipping his horse, the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche ran to the scene, threw his arms around the horse and collapsed—never to recover. This is the story of what happened to the carriage driver, his family, and his steed.

7 thoughts on “The Pretense of Arthouse Movie Pretention”

  1. Checking to see if I can comment through the WP reader as I still am blocked from leaving a comment on the actual post. I just love all the glitches in my everyday life.


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