Films / Turin Horse, The
Hungary | Best of Fest/Spotlight | 2011 | 146 | Website
Director: Béla Tarr
Hungarian & German w/English subtitles
Awards: Grand Prix-Berlin Film Festival
A Burlington Film Society Screening, Sponsored by the Vermont International Film Festival, Host sponsor-Main Street Landing
Film source: Cinema Guild
The films of Hungarian director Béla Tarr constitute a body of work of such artistic integrity and stylistic singularity critics have had to reach for the names of directors like Robert Bresson, Carl Dryer, Michaelangelo Antonioni, and Andrei Tarkovsky for measures of comparison. Radically humanist in perspective, and characterized by a style that has as much in common with formalist experimentation as with post-Soviet social realism, Tarr’s films immerse moviegoers in an enveloping experience of cinematic space and time of incomparable tangibility and immediacy. The Turin Horse, one of the sensations of the 2011-2012 international film festival circuit and Hungary’s submission in foreign film category of this year’s Academy Awards, is the culmination of Tarr’s career as one of the world’s most innovative filmmakers. Tarr’s announcement that this would be his last film has added to the gravitas of the occasion, and additional significance to the film’s starkly powerful evocation of worlds coming to an end and existential finality.
Inspired by the legendary story of Friedrich Nietzsche’s 1889 encounter with a peasant beating his horse that marked the beginning of the philosopher’s 10-year descent into madness and silence, The Turin Horse carries to new levels Tarr’s vision of human existence as a kind of Sisyphean struggle. Exquisitely photographed in black and white and unfolding under longtime music collaborator Mihály Víg’s melancholy score, Tarr’s film brings to vivid, almost hallucinatory life the daily ordeal of the peasant, his daughter, and the horse of Nietzsche’s story, in a world envisioned as a howling storm in which the light of life is slowly but surely leaving the world. Tarr’s legendary uninterrupted camera shots lasting 10 minutes or longer so completely immerse the viewer in the time and space of the movie’s reality, the Odyssean, second-by-second struggle of the protagonists to survive the assault of a godless universe is materialized in the experience of the film itself. – B.S.
Monday, October 22, 2012 at 07:00 PM | Main Street Landing
BFS Presentation; Sponsor VTIFF