(aka "Öszi almanach" )


Hungary 1985


In his first three films Bela Tarr--conceivably the most important Eastern European filmmaker currently working--betrays an impatience with cinematic style, focusing almost exclusively on content, but that tendency was radically overturned with this 1984 feature, whose taste and intelligence are specifically (and exquisitely) cinematic and revealed Tarr as a master stylist. Set entirely in an apartment inhabited by an elderly woman, her son, his former teacher, the old woman's nurse, and the nurse's lover, the film consists mainly of intense two-part dialogues and encounters largely concerned with the old woman's money. The remarkable use of color depends on a lighting scheme that divides most areas (and characters) into blue and orange, and the elaborately choreographed mise en scene is consistently inventive and unpredictable, making use of highly unorthodox angles and very slow camera movements. As in Damnation (1987), the mise en scene often seems to be composed in counterpoint to the action, but the drama itself (whose Strindbergian power and sexual conflicts are realized with an intensity and concentration that suggests John Cassavetes) carries plenty of charge on its own.

Jonathan Rosenbaum (From the Chicago Reader )

Theatrical Release: 17 January 1985

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Facets - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Arvid for the Review!

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Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:55:09

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.37 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles English (non-removable)
Features Release Information:
Studio: Facets

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Cine-Notes collectible booklet

DVD Release Date: 2006-07-25

Chapters 17



Comments As usual with Facets we get a DVD5 (3.71GB) and burned-in subtitles. But for once they have made a decent transfer, compared to the first three films they released (Family Nest, The Outsider & Prefab People) this actually looks quite good. From what I heard this release have been supervised by Tarr himself. There is another DVD release of this film by the French company Clavis films, I don't know if it's better than this one but it's possible. it's said to have optional subs in English (plus French, German and Dutch I think). One thing I'm not sure about is the aspect ratio. It looks quite good but I think 1.66:1 would be more likely to be the OAR, if anyone knows for sure please drop a email.

 - Arvid



DVD Menus



Screen Captures


Comparison to Clavis DVD


Facets TOP vs. Clavis BOTTOM


Facets TOP vs. Clavis BOTTOM


Jacob says: "It (this review) mentions the French DVD (Clavis) which I have subsequently purchased to compare the image with 2 of your screenshots (I also own the US-DVD).

The conclusion will have to be that the US-version is superior, at least as far as sharpness and color is concerned, and also on aspect ratio in my opinion, as will be apparent from the following screenshot (top is Facets, bottom Clavis):

Sharpness is considerably less for Clavis, and there seems to be a blue abundance that looks plain weird.
You will also notice the different aspect-ratio: 4:3 for Clavis instead of 1.78:1. Some cropping of varying degree on the left and right for Clavis, and obviously more image on the top and bottom. Composition-wise I prefer the 1.78:1.

All-in-all: just buy the US-version, athough it clocks at the same 1:55 minutes as the French one
". (Thanks Jacob!)

Facets Screen Caps
Subtitle sample















DVD Box Cover

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Region 0 - NTSC



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