Notes on Bela Tarr’s Satantango

7 hours and 30 minutes. That’s how long this film, by Bela Tarr, is. For any film of similar length (and there are others), the first question I would ask for those who have seen such films is, Is it worth the time? And relatedly: Is the time justified? I will provide an answer to both questions, but before I do, let me explain why I’m writing about this film. This is a film I’ve been wanting to see for a long time. I really liked Werkmeister Harmonies and Turin Horse–both by Tarr, and both are great–the former would definitely make my list of all-time great movies (and the latter also has a shot). Satantango also appears on all-time great lists, including the 1001 Films You Must See Before You Die list. So, I’ve wanted to see this. Unfortunately, it was not easy to find, and the DVD was expensive. This year or last, I saw that they were screening this in Seattle, and I felt excited, but disappointed that I couldn’t go. (It would have been extra special to see this on the big screen.) But recently, the website, to my delight, made the a newly restored version of the film available for streaming. I recently watched this, and unsurprisingly I have a lot to process. And this is why I’m starting the thread now.

Were Magic, Bird, and the 80s Anomalies?

Amazon Prime has older NBA games their airing now. When I say older, I mean in the 70s and 60s. I watching a few quarters of Kareem and the Big O with the Bucks, Rick Barry and the Warriors, among others. Watching a few of these games reinforced a hypothesis I had about Magic, Bird, and the NBA in the 80s–namely, they were anomalies, and the 80s were an exception rather than the rule. I’ll explain my reasons for feeling this way in the next post.

What Does it Mean to be Local in Hawai’i?

Civilbeat has been exploring that question.

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How would you guys answer this? Here’s my first attempt:

Michael Jordan’s Leadership

I have a lot of respect for Michael Jordan as a basketball player (and he seems like a decent enough guy). I don’t think I’ve ever had a negative impression or thought of him. Until now. I haven’t been watching The Last Dance, but I’ve been listening to some of the comments about the series. The ones I heard today, from Shannon Sharpe, specifically about Michael Jordan’s leadership was the first time I can remember having a negative impression of Jordan. I’ll go more why I feel this way in this thread.

Art: Innovations and Innovators

I really love artist that push and sometime break boundaries, leading to a new style or vocabulary, or even redefining what constitutes art or not. Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, and maybe Andy Kaufmann would be examples of the latter. Other innovators, who may not cause us to re-think art, but I still I like a lot are Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, to name a few. This is a thread to discuss innovations of specific artists as well as innovations in art more generally. I want to start by talking about two different innovations in music that I’m interested in.

General Thread on Artists and Art

I’ve been watching several documentaries about art and artists, and instead of writing a review for these films, I wanted to start a thread for general thoughts and reaction these artists and art in general; basically a repository of notes on these topics.

Football Question: How Should a Team’s Offense Play If Their Defense is Weak?

I feel like I’ve asked this question before, but after a cursory search, I couldn’t find any thread. I apologize if this I’m repeating myself. This question often comes up when I’m interacting with Seahawk fans in the last two years–primarily because their defense hasn’t been good. A lot of people seem to think that, with a weak defense, a team should be more aggressive about scoring, which usually means passing the ball more in a way that maximizes scoring opportunities, rather than controlling the ball. Intuitively, this seems correct. A more conservative offense makes sense on a team with a great defense. That is, don’t take chances on offense, and don’t worry about scoring a lot because the defense can win the game.

However, I think one can make a conservative offensive approach when the team’s defense is weak. A conservative approach will minimize the defense’s snaps and time on the field, minimizing their exposure and also enabling them to play at their best by resting them. This second point is crucial if the defense the problem main problem with the defense is that they hit their breaking point relatively quickly.

Actually, I think a balanced offensive approach is the ideal. With a weak defense, scoring is critical–more critical than if the defense were dominant. So the offense should be good at ball control and scoring. Indeed, I think this is only viable path to a serious playoff run. An offense that’s too conservative is not going to cut it, and an offense that is aggressive will have to be fantastic at scoring TDs to make up for the defensive deficiency. That’s type of offense is difficult–you need the personnel, OC, and it puts tremendous pressure on the offense.

Where do you guys stand on this?