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Panelkapcsolat 1982
Description: Using verite conventions, a young couple with a baby and a kid are worn away by the monotony of their lives.
Released: 09 Dec 1982 Director: Béla Tarr Writers: Béla Tarr Actors: Judit Pogány, Róbert Koltai, Kyri Ambrus, Jánosné Bráda Genres: Drama
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See Tarr Béla - Panelkapcsolat / B on youtube.

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See Mihók Barna, Tarr Béla Panelka on youtube.

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See Panelkapcsolat részlet on youtube.

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See The Prefab People (Béla Tarr - on youtube.

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See THE PREFAB PEOPLE on youtube.

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See Együtt kell lenni - Panelkapcs on youtube.

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See Panelkapcsolat: (Pre)Fab on youtube.

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See Béla Tarr // Hotel Magnezit (1 on youtube.

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See Tarr Béla - Családi tűzfészek on youtube.

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Panelkapcsolat Reviews:

This is one of Hungarian master Bela Tarr's earlier work, his third movie and the first one for which he used professional actors, I understand. "Raw" is a word that has been used almost universally to describe Tarr's earlier films. What "Prefab People" depicts is a very ordinary young working-class family of four. If he were to create an entertaining movie, a director should create this into a case drama/comedy of a sweet warm family, with a general dose of Spielberg spirit. But entertainment is not what Tarr offers. He dwells on the strife, the frustration and the inability to communicate. The film is so direct and realistic that we feel like peeking into the daily life of stagnation of this couple, lost in a vicious cycle of nagging complaints and resigned indifference. While the storyline should be seen as linear, starting with a easy flashback, some interpret it as a repeat of a nightmare-in-real-life over and over again. Certainly not a joy to watch, and not entertaining in the normal sense, "Prefab people" is worth a look to receive a feel for Tarr's work and to be reminded how unpleasant life should be, whether by destiny or by choice.


The Prefab Folks (1982) ***1/2 An early Bela Tarr film, showing some of what was to come, but overall feeling more like Cassavetes than the Tarr we know today. Shot in characteristic long takes and black and white, Prefab Folks is far more raw and documentary like than stately.The movie revolves around the lives of a married couple with a young baby and a child. The movie starts with as Robi, the husband, is packing up and leaving his wife. He seems to be the obvious terrible guy here. The movie then moves and they are back together, presumably a flashback to happier times. They are celebrating their 9th anniversary, but happiness later turns to the wife's tears as she presses him about a job and complains about him having to watch him walk away every day. Scenes continue in this method - he's obviously not a excellent husband; he enjoys his beer, his friends, and wants more from his career. She is a caring mother, but perhaps a nagging and extremely needy wife. She complains to mates that he never sees when they are out that she feels the need to dance, and reminisces about her youth. At a dance hall (a trademark Bela Tarr sequence) folks dance, while the couple and their mates chat. One of the mates wive's invites Robi to dance, and he does. Meanwhile, the wife is agitated and upset that she was never asked by her husband, despite never making any notion that she would like to do so. In other instance he says her he's been offered a job abroad in Romania for 2 years that will give him double the pay - they can purchase a vehicle and a house. She says him that she doesn't care about those things and would rather they be together all the time without them than be apart. He's upset, but seeing that she won't budge, tells that he will say his employers no thanks.It becomes obvious that neither party is perfect, and both are in one method or other at fault for their situation. Finally we return to the opening scene, only this time the camera moves differently and the dialogue is various in parts. Have we come full circle? Was what we saw a flash back? is this a fresh breakup? Its a intelligent trick by Tarr to mix things up. The final stage involves the couple purchasing a washing machine, leaving us to wonder if they are back together again, or if it is other memory.While this movie isn't as assured or stately as the film's he is popular for today, Tarr shows that he really is a masterful director, able to work at any length (the movie runs a minute 75 minuets compared to the 7.5 hour Satantango). Prefab Folks is a very nice film, though I'm not necessarily sure its a nice one. On its own, it certainly stands above the slash for its raw and realistic emotional punch (The wife cries (numerous times) perhaps the most sincere tears I've seen on film. Her nagging is annoying to us at times, and understood at others. The acting overall is very nice all around, especially the husband.The movie certainly can't be told to be enjoyable - it's painful topics matter, and what satisfied scenes there are are several and far between and short in duration. It's nevertheless a very solid, and nothing if not interesting effort from early Bela Tarr.


Filmed, like all of Tarr's work, in black & white this gem of a movie, to our western eyes, looks as though it were filmed in the 50s at the very latest, but this is in fact Hungary in 1981, and shot on a shoestring budget. The movie is about a relationship, about a couple scraping by, living in difficult times, with two children to feed. But whilst this is beginning to sound a bit like a Magyar "Cathy Come Home", stop right there! In Loach's film, Cathy and Reg are very much in love, but it it circumstances beyond their control that drive a wedge through them. In "Panelkapcsolat", it is themselves.Whilst it is clear that they do love one other - or she loves him, at least - neither husband Robi nor his wife (whose name, I believe, we are never given) can blame anyone another than themselves for their lot. He is beginning to see the value of what he regards as "socialism" over communism, but has more time for his mates and his work colleagues than for his wife. Greed is a factor that appears in many of Tarr's movies, even his recent ("The Boy from London"). However, Robi's wife, whilst certainly not greedy, is not faultless herself, as she cannot see - until it is too late - that her constant nagging is driving them apart. Or is it too late? One of the interesting techniques of this film is that Tarr plays around with the chronology. We see the couple arguing, we see them enjoying (albeit for a short while) a tender moment at their 9th wedding anniversary, we see them argue again, we see them in bed. If we assume that the movie is filmed chronologically, then it's a satisfied ending - of sorts (he still gets his method with the Minimat 65). It should quite plausibly be meant to be chronological, after all, we see Robi 'leave' his wife at the begin of the film, and we see him leave again - presumably for Romania - in the film's dénouement. At first, we think that the second departure stage is the same as the first, but there are differences in dialogue, which makes one think that perhaps he has left - and returned - many times, hence the final stage is after he has returned - the next day, perhaps.However, I am fairly sure that we are not meant to take this movie chronologically. The movie jumps backwards and forwards all over the place, and the final stage in the back of the truck is from happier days, perhaps from when they first moved in together. But Robi's stubbornness in not going for the automatic washing-machine, which his wife would have preferred, shows that their marital adventure ahead will be as bumpy as the street they are travelling on in back of the truck.Cleverly, the viewer is therefore gratis to turn this unbelievable piece of celluloid into whatever he or she wants. I cannot imagine anyone not being fully mesmerised by this film. That Tarr can produce masterpieces of any length, from a relatively short movie like this one, to the 7 and a half hour long "Sátántangó", shows that he is a very unique director indeed. He is brilliant at capturing moments that others would not even notice. One such moment is halfway through the film, where Robi drunkenly sings the theme to the Godfather and a Hungarian ver of "Autumn Leaves", we think (hope!) that he is directing the words to his wife, but end up being quite mistaken. As the camera pans between wife, husband, and musician, we realise that we are watching something quite unique indeed.Let us hope that, actually that Tarr has finally complete "The Boy from London" after so many years, that he will create more movies more regularly, and not leave us on our own for so many years.



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