Becoming Béla Tarr’s Bêtes, or How to Stop Being Afraid of Ceasing to Be a Human Being

James Martell

Abstract


Against our common rush to understand the world in our own, human terms, Béla Tarr’s films give us the opportunity to come in touch with our own stupidity, and through it, with our madness and the becomings it opens up. This essay looks at the current state of the world (disdainful gesture, disgustedly) and with Tarrian eyes, tries to question our speeds, and to see the bottomless abyss that Nietzsche, Deleuze, and others proposed to us as our only living escape.

Keywords: Stupidity; Thinking; Slowness; Affect; Space; Béla Tarr


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References


Texts Cited:

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Froment-Meurice, Marc. “Du pareil au Même,” Le temps de la réflexion, 1988. De la bêtise et des bêtes. Ed. J.-B. Pontalis. Paris: Gallimard, 1988, pp. 127-158. Print.

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Gorfinkel, Elena. “Weariness, Waiting: Enduration and Art’s Cinema’s Tired Bodies,” Discourse. 34. 2-3, (Spring/Fall 2012), pp. 312-347. Print.

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Rancière, Jacques. Béla Tarr, The Time After. Trans. Erik Beranek. Minneapolis: Univocal, 2013. Print.

Ronell, Avital. Stupidity. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2003. Print.

Saint-Charles. “Au jour le jour, Chez Frédéric Nietzsche.” Le Figaro, 260. 39.3 (09/ 17/1893). Gallica. Web. Accessed 10 July 2016.

Sartre, Jean-Paul. “Existentialism Is a Humanism.” Trans. Philip Mairet, in Existentialism from Dostoyevsky to Sartre. Ed. Walter Kaufman. New York: Penguin, 1989. Web. Accessed 10 July 2016.

Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von, Philosophical Investigations into the Essence of Human Freedom. Trans. and Ed. Jeff Love and Johannes Schmidt. Albany: SUNY Press, 2006. Web. Accessed 10 July 2016.

Villani, Arnaud. “Le Jardin des Plantes, côté singes,” Le temps de la réflexion, 1988. De la bêtise et des bêtes. Ed. J.-B. Pontalis. Paris: Gallimard, 1988, pp. 159-181. Print.

Žižek, Slavoj. “Afterword: Objects, Objects Everywhere,” Slavoj Žižek and Dialectical Materialism. Eds. Agon Hamza and Frank Ruda. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, pp. 177-192. Print.

Films Cited:

Damnation. Dir. Béla Tarr. Hungarian Film Institute, 1988. DVD.

Sátántangó. Dir. Béla Tarr. Mozgókép Innovációs Társulás és Alapítvány, 1994. DVD.

The Turin Horse. Dir. Béla Tarr. TT Filmmûhely, 2011. DVD.

Werckmeister Harmonies. Dir. Béla Tarr. 13 Productions, 2001. DVD.


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