The greatest films of all time as voted on by the Criterion subreddit using a ranked top 10 methodology from…
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…
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…
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…
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…
Hard to say much about it. A lot less direct than The Turin Horse and I will have to think about it some more.
"I've retuned the piano. Now, once again, it's like any other. Once again, you can play anything on it."
Obviously amazing mise-en-scène mesmerising beautiful etc. and the sound design is pretty great too, specially on the first unveiling of the giant whale. Silence->loud sound->upbeat music synced to the loud sound. I still don't know what to make of neverending shots were (almost) nothing happens. At least the camera moves more than on other static filmmakers, I guess. Also, love the WordArt on an ad on WWII Hungary
Above criticism, above art, above us all.
Can't say any more.
I think I might of fell asleep. This is probably a masterpiece. I just was too bored to relies it. There was a whale and no prince. There was the most boring anarchy I've ever senn and there was an old guy with his dick out.
watched on my 16th birthday.
why have i waited 16 years to watch this masterpiece?
The single most moving experience I have ever had with a film. Bela Tarr is a magician of darkness.
And I thought Kieślowski was the King of Depression. If he's king then Tarr is Emperor of Despair, Monarch of Melancholy.
Werckmeister Harmonies - 3/4
A beautiful, essentially plotless dream-like poem of gorgeous composition followed by another, and another. It's beauty is hindered though by it's terrible pacing. What many cinephiles may defend as deliberate and mystery inducing is, in my opinion, actually just lethargic and boring. While the film features some truly mesmerizing sequences and is a clear example of bravura direction, one can't help but feel that it's a huge chore in between scenes of rhythmic beauty, usually backed by the haunting soundtrack that permeates through every scene of chilling poetry. Ebert started his review of Werckmeister Harmonies by stating:
"Bela Tarr's "Werckmeister Harmonies" (2000) is maddening if you are not in sympathy with it, mesmerizing if you are."…
Recently I was contemplating making a list of my favorite scenes in film, but I decided that instead of just…