Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
The Turin Horse
1889. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche witnessed the whipping of a horse while traveling in Turin, Italy. He tossed his arms around the horse's neck to protect it then collapsed to the ground. In less than one month, Nietzsche would be diagnosed with a serious mental illness that would make him bed-ridden and speechless for the next eleven years until his death. But whatever did happen to the horse? This film, which is Tarr's last, follows up this question in a fictionalized story of what occurred. The man who whipped the horse is a rural farmer who makes his living taking on carting jobs into the city with his horse-drawn cart. The horse is old and in very poor health, but does its best to obey its master's commands. The farmer and his daughter must come to the understanding that it will be unable to go on sustaining their livelihoods. The dying of the horse is the foundation of this tragic tale.
The wind blows.
We watch a moving world. We do not move ourselves.
We are Pygmalion in reverse. Our daily routine is the chisel, turning us to stone.
We wait. We ignore. We transform.
The wind blows.
It sucks our breath, it drowns our words.
Actions speak louder. Actions can match the wind.
Nature versus routine. An eternal battle to wear away our stone facade.
Both with the same goal, reward, curse. Stone or dust.
Winner signaled by brief panic, then stone or dust.
The wind blows.
I'd like to place a reservation on my rating for The Turin Horse for now. Béla Tarr is a director I've long been wanting to experience,…
Me: So Mr. Tarr, what exactly is your film The Turin Horse about?
Bela Tarr: Ze film is about ze futility and meaninglessness of life. Man is but animal, a beast of burden meant to be suffering, and zen die. Zayr is no God. Zayr is no after life. Happiness is nozthing.
Bela Tarr drops the mic and exits stage left leaving the audience perplexed and stunned. There is no letting up from an auteur with such a determined vision, looking at the drudgery of life's routine also proving to be a fitting curtain call to his career.
He imagines what happened to a beaten horse said to have influenced the depression that led to Nietzsche's death. The dense atmosphere of the film links itself to the weighty existential musings of the philosopher creating a far reaching parable. God Is Dead in this ferociously angry land where the sun never shines and the wind batters through the soul.
It is a beautiful film to look at offering no hiding place for the…
This is one of those cases where my rating is for the merits of the film and not my preferences. As beautiful as this film is, I could only recommend it to those who are particularly interested in seeing the daily routines and harshness of 19th Century country living, or to serious fans of Tarkovskiy, who are used to slow long shots where not much happens on the screen.
The Turin Horse.
It is gorgeous. Every shot is one of the most beautiful photographs you will ever see.
It sounds beautiful. The score and the harsh wind are almost indistinguishable, both playing the same melody.
The art direction is perfect. Every single dented pot, every crack in the wall, every…
This is a film of the elements.
Between the constant wind, the need for water, the dirt and mud, and the light of small, flickering flames, this film is the sum total of reality. In the midst of all of these is the aether, the fifth element that controls movement and light. In this case, the aether is the camera, which moves fluidly about our sparse subjects and observes, yet also commands their fates in a metatextual way. The aether is Tarr's storytelling.
The wind is the uncontrollable power that sweeps away everything. It is the horse's refusal to work and the inevitability of the end. It is constant, grating, and brutal, and it drives those who attempt to move…
More an experience than a film, Béla Tarr's The Turin Horse is one of the bleakest and most depressing pieces of art I have ever encountered. And at the same time it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
Tarr's film builds on a thought, a musing (taken from the film's synopsis): 1889. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche witnessed the whipping of a horse while traveling in Turin, Italy. He tossed his arms around the horse's neck to protect it then collapsed to the ground. In less than one month, Nietzsche would be diagnosed with a serious mental illness that would make him bed-ridden and speechless for the next eleven years until his death. But whatever did…
After enduring and getting multiple times bored to death (and falling asleep) by the eternal Satantango and after loving the first 15 minutes of Werckmaister Harmonies and getting bored and disappointed by the rest of it, I decided to give Bela Tarr's films a third and last try with The Turin Horse.
My first impression of the film was great: the photography was absolutely haunting and beautiful, among the best I've ever seen, easily surpassing that of Werckmaister Harmonies. I loved the first scene of the film, specially the frontal shots of the horse and the storm, but I found the repetitive music a little bit annoying. That scene will stay in my head for some time.
After the movie…
A cartoon of human misery. It's unquestionably a grand and uncompromising vision, but I don't think that alone makes it great.
Hire a Hungarian man to scream "THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF HUMAN EXISTENCE!" in your face for two and a half hours for the same effect.
Everything we do has a purpose and that purpose must be accomplished with an economy of movement, using as little energy as possible. Why speak when there is nothing to say. A window. An empty birdcage. Work, eat, sleep. Eat, sleep. Sleep. The wind, always the wind.
Entropy caused by the inevitability of stasis. Until the end.
Sleep, I have work in the morning...
It was fascinating to watch it in class. I'm so used to Tarr's aesthetic by now that I forget how extreme it can be -- even with a sophisticated group of students. The movie had such an incredible physical effect on them; they were slumping over, stretching, hiding themselves in their hoodies as if to escape the abject horror that Tarr was making them experience. And their response was vivid, with bored antagonists and passionate defenders. For those of us who lament that we no longer live in the age of high modernism when people booed The Rite of Spring or threw stink bombs at the premiere of L'Age D'Or, it was healthy to see that the art cinema still has the capacity to provoke -- for good or bad.
I watched this (for the third time) rather than the Oscars.
I don't know, outside of The Man from London, which seems to be commonly accepted as a weaker effort among his fans, I just feel like Tarr is impenetrable for me, and I can't pin down a specific reason. I like most of his contemporaries, and from a technical standpoint his stuff is stunning (it's a shame that this is his only film available in HD) but I always find myself tuning out after half an hour or so. This felt twice as long as Norte.
Hilarious. Funniest. Comedy. Ever.