Apocalypse can mean, and this is particularly important in the case of Tarr, contemplation (hazon) and inspiration through seeing (nebua). Since Tarr […] uses the medium of film as the means of contemplation – he does not use it to copy or mirror things, neither does he want to represent anything with it, but to apprehend: to apprehend something that can only be apprehended in and through pictures.[iii]
Logos – now understood as truth – is something that is, philosophically speaking, always on the move, ‘captured’ only in its dynamicity. The ‘fore-ness’ in this sense, is a mirror of the expectations shared by these downtrodden people hoping to bread and tea. There is a small, but important joke here: the girl starts dispensing the food before she is ‘supposed’ to, the clock shows that it is only nearly twelve o’clock. This is the crucial point: after this ‘fore-word’ the ‘climax’ (the ‘word’) unfolds in its absence. It is a foreword to nothing, to a nothingness – yet, to a nothingness that, means everything for those standing in line.
As Bíró notes, Prologue’s crowd scene has its parallel, and predecessor, in the famous crowd scene in Werckmeister; while we are initially unaware what these people are doing, there is an uncanny, even doomed aura to the scene. Werckmeister ends in a scene of the destruction of a hospital, yet in Prologue the 'end' is a failure to produce any similar conclusion. The crowd’s silent and patient waiting for something always just to come is the ‘real thing’, the ‘real’ logos. It is, metaphorically, time itself. It is not a pro-logos, not a fore-word in the sense that there would be something better to come. This eternal movement (the movement of the queue, the caring movements of the girl) is the only logos, the only truth per se. Yet, this chain of movement can be interpreted as the lack of any movement, too, since the movement of the camera and the movement of the mass – given their opposing directions – cancel each other out. History cannot be divided into proto-states and end-states. There is no eschatology, no messianic, teleological direction of history in Tarr’s films. There is no end of history to write a prologue to, no (r)evolution. All we are left with is time itself, the eternal present, the eternal presence of the need and demand for care.
Auguste Comte famously claimed that the individual is always a mere abstraction abstracted from the only positive, actually existing reality: the reality of community. When we catch sight of the crowd, we could, in a sense, perceive them as a ‘mass’ and ourselves as detached passers-by. One might be inclined to think about ‘them’ in political, sociological problems, in terms of ‘social theory’ or ‘social science’. Then, when we stop - when the camera halts – they become individuals. Yet again, Tarr’s greatness lies in his ability to show this duality. We do not see the faces when we occupy a ‘fixed viewpoint’. We only see the movement of individuality. Cinematography can capture this duality: Immobility in movement, and movement in immobility. Either we are moving or the world is 'moving'; the face and the Epiphany of the demand for care is showing itself on the faces of the community. The face of the Other (ourselves) is always speaking to us. All we have to do is to see and listen care-fully. "Don't think: look!"
Given that I am a filmmaker, I have brought you a movie instead of words. Faces. Looks that are talking about human dignity. That is what we are to show: the dignity of existence. I would kindly like to ask you to love those people who these movies are about, it is not enough to feel solidarity. We demand more, people demand more. We have only one life, it does make a difference, how it is like. We have to live it with dignity...
Kristóf Bodnár is part-time lecturer at the University of Debrecen Medical and Health Science Centre, Behavioural Sciences.