The Outsider

Directed by Béla Tarr.
With András Szabó, Jolan Fodor, Imre Donko.
Hungary, 1979, digital video, color, 122 min.
Hungarian and Slovak with English subtitles.

Assuming the freeform structure of naturalistic, independent American cinema of the same period, The Outsider imparts a mutual theme: the hard barter of individual – usually male – freedom for a “normal” life of work and family. Played by a musician of the same name, easy-going András Szabó drifts along an aimless path – performing and drinking his central pleasures. Work, marriage and fatherhood only blur the edges of his desultory descent through the landscape of modern Budapest’s bohemian fringe. He joins the listless drug addicts, alcoholic philosophers and lost artists who seek the life of Beethoven or Haydn without the work ethic, the ambition or any support. In his second feature, Tarr continues his unpretentious reflections on the symbiotic, inarticulate relationships between personal dysfunction and social malady. – BG

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