Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
This story takes place in a small town on the Hungarian Plain. In a provincial town, which is surrounded with nothing else but frost. It is bitterly cold weather — without snow. Even in this bewildered cold hundreds of people are standing around the circus tent, which is put up in the main square, to see — as the outcome of their wait — the chief attraction, the stuffed carcass of a real whale. The people are coming from everywhere. From the neighboring settlings, even from quite far away parts of the country. They are following this clumsy monster as a dumb, faceless, rag-wearing crowd. This strange state of affairs — the appearance of the foreigners, the extreme frost — disturbs the order of the small town. Ambitious personages of the story feel they can take advantage of this situation. The tension growing to the unbearable is brought to explosion by the figure of the Prince, who is pretending facelessness. Even his mere appearance is enough to break loose destructive emotions...
Why do I hold Werckmeister Harmonies aloft as the greatest film I have ever seen? A huge part of it, admittedly, and the thing that makes me think it will remain my favourite film to the day I die, is its profound personal relevance. I first saw the film about 5 years ago now, at a time when my interest in cinema was in the very very earliest stages of blossoming. It blew me away. Takes that long, images that symbolic, music that intoxicating, scenes that spellbinding, meanings that elusive... it was far too much for my uninitiated mind to deal with, but I knew that it was changing me. What's funny is that I encountered it entirely by mistake:…
There is no comfort in the worlds created by Bela Tarr. He has the unique ability to create his very own universe within the stories he chooses to relate. Otherworldly, yet real, Tarr's earth is a singularly harsh and unforgiving place, a place in which he chooses to explore what we are and where we are headed.
Werckmeister Harmonies is no different. In harrowing black and white we are transported to an anonymous Hungarian town, out of which life is slowly seeping away. It is a desolate place, struck by poverty and inhabited by people for whom life is very hard. While we follow mailman Janos (the focal point of the story), we slowly pick up snippets of how bad…
Revolution rolls through the hidden towns and villages of Eastern Europe, leaving a trail of destructive mythology in its wake. Like the countless dictators that have come before it this dark, moving force holds captive one of the wonders of the world, God's magnificence held within a giant steal container. Wherever it comes to rest its unsettling presence moulds chaos from tranquility.
The omnipotence of a higher power lingers behind the framing of Bela Tarr's slow hypnotic takes taking in the fragility of man still so easily shaped and corrupted by elements beyond our control. His camera moves gracefully around the town following Janos through his routine in the first half of the film in sequences that induce a dreamlike…
PTAbro's World Tour Stop 11: Hungary
"The world has gone completely mad. Now it's not down here, but up there where something's gone wrong."
János is a simple man; a servant and an idealist. Always being tasked with jobs no one else wants to do, like putting unruly children to bed or delivering an ultimatum to his closest friend from his conniving ex-wife, it is poetic that what he's actually paid to do is deliver the news that no one else wants to hear. Everyone around him refuses to hear the truth, and since it is his job to do so, he is relegated to a gopher in order to delay his inevitable announcements until it is too late. It's…
Part of the 30 countries festival. Hungary
"For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." – Matthew 12:40
Werckmeister Harmonies... Three days in the life of János, three days in the making of a revolution in a small Hungarian town, three days of threat, darkness, ignorance, duplicity. A three day eclipse of the sun/Son.
"And just imagine, in this infinite sonorous silence, everywhere is an impenetrable darkness. Here, we only experience general motion, and at first, we don't notice the events that we are witnessing" – János Valuska asking three drunks to play the sun, the moon…
Part of Lise and Jonnie’s What A Wonderful World: May 30 days, 30 countries.
Film 5 – May 5 – Hungary
My initial reaction after watching Werckmeister Harmonies ( besides running up to the cold dark attic and burying myself in whatever fodder I could find ) was to chicken out and toss off a non-review as I had done with The Turin Horse. Maybe a quip about the Prince, maybe an observation that Giant Whales coming to town is never a good sign. No, I’ll try to at least put down some impressions without any time to contemplate.
Since there is no way to compare Werckmeister to any film that I’ve ever seen except my only other Tarr, I’ll…
The way I feel about this film is similar to how a lot of people feel for Terrence Malick films: Long, slow, strange, pretty, occasionally brilliant and achingly pretentious.
They sure look like living dead when they come out after the roaring rampage at the hospital. With haunting score and meditative cinematography, Werckmeister Harmonies is another masterpiece from Bela Tarr. Lot to learn from Bela Tarr: the way of moving a camera, the uncanny excellence of building meditative thrill. Most importantly - Sculpting in time.
Bela Tarr is a great poet. Pure beauty inside this movie. Scenes that I will remember for all my life. Great.
Stretching scenes out into the territory of banality with incredible conviction, Béla Tarr has already been hailed as a master auteur for his very own streak of trademark visual style and pace. But it wasn't until I watched his "Werckmeister Harmonies" that I finally bought into the hype. The odyssey of a man in the nearly desolate and somberly monotone world around him easily can be connected to the emotion complex of many watching; arriving at a peak sequence in which man and beast are on the same plain of superiority.
Beautiful, Monumental and Mystic as Bela Tarr knows how to do it.
The master of travelling and sequence shots. The storyline, an originality based on a deep feeling that words cannot explain. The symbolism on the actions, the tragedy of a good man who fights spiritually against darkness, what a sadness, what a realistic and present fact. Ambient with such powerful and unexpected happenings that shake the head and soul. Every time I asked to myself how is Bela Tarr going to surprise me next?
The rhythm of the sequences with the camera goes to the rhythm of the movie, to the rhythm of the actors and the words. They camera works great as a powerful tool, such as Bresson…
Watched as part of the Letterboxd Season Challenge 2015-16.
Pretty unconvinced by this. Give me the patient observation of Tsai Ming-Liang or the slow burning surrealism of Tarkovsky over this any day.
An absolutely stunningly crafted film. Director Bela Tarr is in complete control of the medium of film here, even if I couldn't quite connect to his end result.
The first scene of the movie has to be among the all-time greats; Janos, the local paper carrier, shows a bar full of stumbling drunks a demonstration of a total eclipse of the sun. He has one stand in the center, a representation of the sun. Another drunk becomes the earth, twirling and spinning around the room (and the drunk representing the sun). Yet another becomes the moon, spinning around the second drunk. It is dizzying and beautiful, but it is the…
Letterboxd Season Challenge 2015-16 - Eastern European Week
I was nervous about this one. I have a problem with Tarkovsky from waaaaaayyyy back (I blame the candle sequence in Nostalgia), so a two and a half hour film from a director likened to Tarkovsky was always going to raise a few fears. But it's supposed to be a challenge, so in I went...
And it was fantastic! Fraught with symbolism, but rooted in humanity. It struck a perfect balance between philosophical enquiry and action. I realise that action might not be the first word that springs to mind in a film comprised of 39 shots in 145 minutes. However, those shots were dynamic rather than still. The camera choreography was…
Film #11 of the Letterboxd Season Challenge 2015-16.
The Season Challenge continues with Eastern European Week. I decided to see Béla Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies and waiting for its turn is also Kieślowski's Three Colors trilogy.
Werckmeister Harmonies is a film that both captivated and frustrated me. It's also one of the more challenging films I've watched all year. Seems to me that there's lots of symbolism in it, which is the source of my frustration. I have to do some reading and then see the film again at some point.
However, the black-and-white cinematography is magnificent and it makes the film look gorgeous but also bleak as hell. Most of the film's scenes consist of very long shots, which is…
Many favorites, as well as a small handful of films that I don't care for... in no particular order (1960-2014).
Combined the average ratings (Critic's & Users) from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and Letterboxd, and then weighted and tweaked the results…