This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…
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…
I'm a sucker for long takes. I admire the extended choreography behind them. The best type of long takes are the ones that I don't realize are occurring until well into them, at which point I usually think "hey, when was the last cut." Some long takes are obviously better than others. I prefer ones where the camera is moving, static ones rarely have the same effect on me (the rider appearing in the distance in Lawrence of Arabia a definite exception). If the camera is moving I get drawn into the action. Or with a movie like Werckmeister Harmonies, the inaction. Not much actually occurs in this film, but over the course of 39 shots spread out over 145…
The Trojan horse has turned into a whale and in this new cloak it still manages to undermine society.
Not long into the film all I could think was how Bela Tarr managed to get his cameras to film everything so perfectly, so slow and still and so beautiful and bleak, it's like a ghost; which is just about the only way I can describe it and it fits because Werckmeister Harmonies is a truly haunting film with one of the most perfect soundtracks ever helping create one of the most genuinely bleak and tragic atmospheres I've ever come across in film.
Ever since I heard about Harmonies I fell in love with the premise - a circus showing off a dead whale and nothing else. I'm oblivious to much of the deeper meaning but like Tarr's Damnation it doesn't really need to have one because it is still an experience
Overall Enjoyment 6/10
been watchin a buncha crap so i decided to watch a critically acclaimed masterpiece for once.
deserves the praise.
I have watched plenty of sad movies........ but I have never cried in any of them, I got sad in "Bicycle Thieves" and I kind of came close to getting teary in "Schindler's List" but I didn't cry.
But about 3 minutes ago, I finished watching "Werckmeister Harmonies", not only did I properly cry, I cried 3 FUCKING TIMES. I have no idea why. I have no idea what the hell happened in this bloody masterpiece but I am seriously contemplating some of life's heaviest questions right now.
Review on instagram to follow when I understand what the fuck I just watched.
La mirada más pesimista y demoledora sobre la vida que he visto en el cine. La primera escena de una película más mágica y significativa que he tenido el placer de contemplar. La banda sonora más conmovedora que he escuchado, donde cada nota se te mete en el pecho y te remueve por dentro de una forma que, creedme, es imposible de describir con palabras. Solo ha sido al llegar al final cuando he mirado en retrospectiva y he comprendido que todos esos planos prolongados, esos movimientos de cámara, esas armonías, buscaban dejarte como János, destruido.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Turin Horse may be absolutely painful but this film is not. Pure beauty
Awe inspiring stuff. As I sit here with the soundtrack on writing this, I realise that it's burned itself into my mind, probably forever. The images are of legend and myth, but also of real life. Hope and despair, light and dark. Human will against natures. A community or even a world decaying under a flawed political system. All presented through visuals and metaphores in a stunning piece of film making that transcends words or normal emotions. I can't really describe how the final shot or the scene where the brewing uncertainty climaxes made me feel, ut I know I'll never forget them as long as I live. Just a towering, breathtaking powerhouse of a film, a beautiful and wonderful thing that if you can get inside of will make you feel like nothing else and will remain for eternity, just like that stunning creature trapped inside it's box.
Movies that are slightly off.
At the Super Champion Film Zone film forum, we held a poll to discover our community's favourite films ever made…