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:…
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…
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…
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 will at some point in my life, when I'm older and wiser, write an in depth review about the beauty of this film and its impact on me.
For now I simply lack the words.
Bela Tarr's "Werckmeister Harmonies" (2000) is maddening if you are not in sympathy with it, mesmerizing if you are. If you have not walked out after 20 or 30 minutes, you will thereafter not be able to move from your seat. "Dreamlike," Jim Jarmusch calls it. Nightmarish as well; doom-laded, filled with silence and sadness, with the crawly feeling that evil is penetrating its somber little town. It is filmed elegantly in black and white, the camera movements so stately they almost float through only 39 shots in a film of 145 minutes.
To know where we stand as the film begins, we should start with these words by the director, Tarr: "I despise stories, as they mislead people into…
Poetic bleakness. Stunning, stunning, stunning long takes, I've never seen camera movement quite like this. Superb opening sequence that had me hooked. When you watch this film you won't be watching a plot, or a story, or even any acting, you'll be watching reality and the slow passing of time.
Long takes for days
That last shot. That music.
I don't know what to do with myself right now.
#My First Bela Tarr#
A majestic and a magical journey with longing and continuous shots, amazing frames and a music within which makes you go into Trance.
There are many amazing things about this great cinema. First when I started to watch this movie in the first minute I was there in this movie. I was feeling it, I was taking a journey along with and I was there walking with the characters. The camera which was beautifully held with a en longing space with it. The music which makes you still and fresh. The shadows and lights make you hide with them. The whale which makes a majestic approach.
In the first ten minutes we have been explained how…
The notorious, critically-acclaimed Sandman, Bela Tarr, greets the new millennium with another snoozefest. "It's shot in static or very slow-moving long-takes; the monochrome images are deliberately oppressive; the pace would strike the organizers of a state funeral as excessively slow."
Here is meditative and thought-provoking cinema that arrests the soul. The film presents an atmosphere so authentic, it is as if we step into this Hungarian town to live and breathe the lives of its people. Béla Tarr has a profound respect for time, achieving seamless continuity through long shots of beauty, mystery, and purpose. We float alongside the main character, like a spirit over his shoulder. The score is sad, haunting, and memorable. Once the film ends, it feels as if a part of us dies with it, as we depart from its intimate and masterfully-constructed sense of reality.
tbh the opening scene has everything you need to see so just watch that 10x
Werckmeister Harmonies is a towering masterpiece so hypnotic, and so bewildering, that there is no way I will ever be capable of forming my thoughts into a coherent review. Rather, I am going to rattle off some of my initial reactions (as I frequently do after viewing the films of Andrei Tarkovsky) with the hope that at least one of them will hit you on a personal level, and you will make the decision to SEE THIS FILM, if you haven't already;
The shadow of the industry casts itself on the structure of our civilization much like the angel of death casts its shadow on its victims.
The advancement of technology is merely a test of our faith. It is…
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