"The time is now, a numbing and timeless present of hospital stays, bureaucratic questioning, and wandering through remembered spaces... and suddenly it is also then, the mid '70s and the ... See full summary »
Szenvedély / Passion is definitely a rare bird, a film that genuinely manages to portray sexual desire without being pornographic or seedy or resorting to a number of ludicrous clichés. All the sorts of chills and aches and melting that you feel in real life when someone you desire puts their hands on your body, this kind of mental cave in, that's coming off the screen to get you with this movie. The only other film I can think of where there's a humane treatment of desire that packs a punch, is Gustav Machatý's Ekstase (1933).
Szenvedély is an adaptation of James M. Cain's novel The Postman Always Rings Twice that by all accounts has little to do with either of the Hollywood versions. In this version there's a husband and wife who run a garage and the mechanic they employ who has a magnetic attraction to the wife. There's no nonsense, no set-up, it's in your face from the first scene.
If you've seen a Béla Tarr movie you'll have a fair idea of what to expect in terms of presentation, luxuriant black and white shots, very little dialogue. Tarr actually has a writing credit on this movie, and he's hinted that his involvement was possibly more substantial than that. I think that if you see The Man From London, Tarr definitely had unfinished business with this type of material, adapting again from a pulpy source (George Simenon), and reusing István Lénárt in a very similar role as a criminal investigator.
I saw this and immediately knew it had to be in my top 10 films, the experience it offers is clearly one of rapture, I forgot I was even watching a movie. How on earth this didn't register on the critical radars when it was released I can't imagine. The only flaw I can think of, eminently forgivable, is that it ends with a finger-wagging passage of scripture, which feels like it's been tacked on by a post production intruder, the text is in English which lends me to believe that this is so.
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