The Outsider

Director: Béla Tarr
Year Released: 1981
Rating: 2.5

A mixed up young man (András Szabó) who doesn't like to work (working conditions in Hungary are shown as being horrendous) supposedly fathered a child with a woman who wants nothing to do with him (and has to pay child support) and inexplicably marries a woman he doesn't really love - what he really likes to do, play violin, he can't do professionally because he never went to school for it. While most of the other Tarr pictures just dwell on the misery, this one suggests that art is a way to relieve the pressures of reality - Szabó plays the violin and enjoys music and the music acts as his form of therapy. But Tarr is still Tarr, and his movie is still very leisurely and morose and not exactly original: it's a rather plodding series of scenes with people smoking and drinking and trying to blur reality: in a way, both drinking and listening to/playing music are forms of escape though in the end neither do much to help you escape fate (Szabó's character gets drafted and his irate wife sleeps with his brother). At least there aren't any dead whales or endless marital shouting matches in this one....