Damnation (film)

Damnation (Hungarian: Kárhozat) is a 1987 black-and-white Hungarian film directed by Béla Tarr. The screenplay was co-written by Tarr and his frequent collaborator, László Krasznahorkai.

Directed byBéla Tarr
Written byBéla Tarr
László Krasznahorkai
Music byMihály Vig
Release date
  • 1987 (1987)
Running time
116 minutes

The movie has been compared to the works of Andrei Tarkovsky and Michelangelo Antonioni.[1]


Damnation tells the story of Karrer (Miklós B. Székely), a depressed man in love with a married torch singer (Vali Kerekes) from a local bar, the Titanik. The singer breaks off their affair, because she dreams of becoming famous. Karrer is offered smuggling work by Willarsky (Gyula Pauer), the bartender at the Titanik. Karrer offers the job to the singer's husband, Sebestyén (György Cserhalmi). This gets him out of the way, but things don't go as Karrer plans. Betrayals follow. Karrer despairs.


Damnation is generally acclaimed by film critics, and many rank it one of Tarr's finest works. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports a 92% approval rating based on 12 reviews. Michael Atkinson of Village Voice called the film "a serotonin-depleted ordeal, and yet seemingly a sketchbook of vibes and ideas to come, with some of the most magnificent black-and-white images shot anywhere in the world."[2] Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote in the Chicago Reader, "The near miracle is that something so compulsively watchable can be made out of a setting and society that seem so depressive and petrified."[3] Writing for Slant Magazine, Jeremiah Kipp argued, "In terms of creating a strong cinematic world, Tarr has few equals."[4]


  1. ^ "Damnation Reviews". Cinemaparallel.com. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
  2. ^ Atkinson, Michael (5 October 2007). "Small Town Anomie and Liquored Exhaustion". Village Voice. Archived from the original on 7 August 2007. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  3. ^ Rosenbaum, Jonathan (31 July 2003). "Damnation". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  4. ^ Kipp, Jeremiah (21 April 2006). "Damnation". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 21 December 2014.

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