Béla Tarr (born 21 July 1955) is a Hungarian film director. His body of work consists mainly of art films with philosophical themes and long takes.
Debuting with the film Family Nest (1979), Tarr began his directorial career with a brief period of what he refers to as "social cinema", aimed at telling mundane stories about ordinary people, often in the style of cinema vérité. Over the next decade, the cinematic style and thematic elements of his films changed. Tarr has been interpreted as having a pessimistic view of humanity; the characters in his works are often cynical, and have tumultuous relationships with one another in ways critics have found to be darkly comic. Almanac of Fall (1984), his only color film, follows the inhabitants of a run-down apartment as they struggle to live together while sharing their hostilities. The drama Damnation (1988) was lauded for its languid and controlled camera movement, which Tarr would become known for internationally. Satan's Tango (1994) and Werckmeister Harmonies (2000) continued his bleak and desolate representations of reality, while incorporating apocalyptic overtones; the former sometimes appears in scholarly polls of the greatest films ever made, and the latter received wide acclaim from critics. Tarr would later compete in the 2007 Cannes Film Festival with his film The Man from London, which opened to moderately positive reviews.
Frequent collaborators with Tarr include novelist László Krasznahorkai, film composer Mihály Víg, cinematographer Fred Kelemen, actress Erika Bók, and Tarr's wife Ágnes Hranitzky, who is sometimes credited as a co-director of his last three works. After the release of his film The Turin Horse (2011), which made many year-end "best-of" critics' lists, Tarr announced his definitive retirement from feature-length film direction. In February 2013 he started a film school in Sarajevo, known as film.factory, leaving in 2016. He is slated to premiere two short films in a 2017 Amsterdam exhibition.