Béla Tarr is acclaimed a maestro not only in his native Hungary, but in France, North America and by festival directors worldwide. This is a serious art movie, with the accent on all three words. Most definitely it moves, and the art is serious, albeit tinged with black comedy. In a rainy, rundown mining town, the introverted and listless Karrer (Székely) brightens (somewhat) his regular visits to the Titanic Bar by sinking into a desultory, obsessive on-off affair with the bar's singer (Kerekes), whose husband alternates between hostile warnings and drunken banter. Keen to keep his lover to himself, Karrer devises a scheme to get his rival out of the way. It would be easy, but unfair, to dismiss this slow, solemn, somewhat oblique monochrome study of suspicion, corruption, betrayal and revenge as pretentious miserabilism. If its grey aura of despair sometimes hangs a mite heavily, it's certainly worth persevering with for a pay-off that is as perverse as it is powerful; the film's subject, finally, would appear to be the diminution not only of a human soul, but of a society; of the world, perhaps. But it's the absolutely assured direction that's most impressive.