The Turin Horse [Blu-ray]
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On January 3, 1889 in Turin, Italy, Friedrich Nietzsche steps out of the doorway of number six, Via Carlo Albert. Not far from him, a cab driver is having trouble with a stubborn horse. The horse refuses to move, whereupon the driver loses his patience and takes his whip to it. Nietzsche puts an end to the brutal scene, throwing his arms around the horse s neck, sobbing. After this, he lies motionless and silent for two days on a divan, until he loses consciousness and his mind. Somewhere in the countryside, the driver of the cab lives with his daughter and the horse. Outside, a windstorm rages. Immaculately photographed in Tarr s renowned long takes, The Turin Horse is the final statement from a master filmmaker.
SPECIAL EDITION Blu-ray includes over 3 hours of bonus material!
- Hotel Magnezit (1978, 10 minutes), a short film by Bela Tarr
- Audio Commentary by film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum
- Press Conference with Bela Tarr, co-director Ágnes Hranitzky; actors Mihály Kormos, Erika Bók, and János Derzsi; director of photography Fred Kelemen; composer Mihály Vig; and co-producer Gábor Téni from the 2011 Berlin Film Festival (45 minutes)
- BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVE: Regis Dialogue with Bela Tarr at the Walker Art Center (2007, 81 minutes)
- Theatrical Trailer
- Booklet featuring an essay by film critic J. Hoberman
"An auteurist triumph." --Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"Four Stars! A sumptuous masterpiece by one of the greatest moviemakers of all time." --V.A. Musetto, NY Post
"A death-haunted masterpiece. Tarr s most fully achieved, challenging movie since his 1994 epic Sátántangó. --J. Hoberman, Village Voice
Top customer reviews
The second time I watched the film I paid closer attention to the diatribe of the neighbor who comes over to borrow some brandy. He speaks from a somewhat Nietzschean viewpoint, except that according to him God plays a role in things. He seems to be saying that the Nietzschean noble natures, those persons "beyond good and evil", basically capitulated and handed the world over to the corrupt and debased. So we're left with a disintegrating world which is the result of ignoble human nature, pushed along by a God that may be vengeful or may be equally ignoble and corrupt, it's a bit hard to tell.
I found that this pardoxical message added quite a bit to my appreciation of the film. I was even able to find some value in the portrayal of the dull routines of the characters inasmuch as I saw them contrasted against the almost cosmic drama which was being played out behind them in the background. While the world is falling apart, the characters are oblivious to it, focused instead on their repetitive, almost bestially numb, routines. Oddly enough, the beasts (the horse, even the woodworms in the house) have more of a sense of this crisis than the humans do.
However, while I can better appreciate the role played by daily routine, I found I just didn't have enough patience to watch the characters go through all that again: getting the horse out, putting the horse away, getting dressed, getting undressed, cooking potatoes, eating potatoes, getting water from the well, throwing away the wastewater--I feel like I "got" the idea the first time I watched the film and didn't want to re-experience the tiresomeness of it all. So, I'm afraid, I fast-forwarded through a lot of the film the second time. I may watch particular scenes of it again in the future because I think there are some fine artistic moments in them, but I don't think I need to relive the tedium of much of what's portrayed here. I understand that this tedium may have been part of the director's intention, but I don't see the value in returning to it repeatedly.
Distinctly and precisely directed by Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr, this quietly paced fictional tale which is narrated mostly from the two main characters` viewpoints, draws a dense and ritualistic portrayal of six days in the lives of a father who mostly sits on a chair looking out of a window and his daughter who assists him getting dressed, goes to their well every single day and makes them dinner. While notable for its distinct and atmospheric milieu depictions, sterling and low-keyed cinematography by German cinematographer Fred Kelemen, production design, costume design by costume designer Breckl János and use of sound, colors and light, this narrative-driven story about human existence where two isolated people who are living a repetitive lifestyle and who have been living together for many years are waiting for the weather and their horse to become better, depicts three interrelated and internal studies of character and contains a poignant and timely score by Hungarian composer Mihály Vig.
This observational, austere and poetic drama triangle which is set in Italy during a spring in the late 19th century and where the similarities between two human beings and a horse becomes more and more apparent, their lives more and more challenging and hope increasingly intangible as the wind grows stronger and stronger, is impelled and reinforced by its stringent narrative structure, subtle character development, rhythmic continuity, distinct atmosphere, silent and contemplating characters, long and philosophical speech, describing voice-over narration, dark and mysterious undertones, the internally and externally expressionistic acting performances by Hungarian actor János Derzsi and Hungarian actress Erika Bók and the fine acting performance by Hungarian actor Mihály Kormos. An existentialistic, cinematographic and majestic statement from an accomplished auteur filmmaker which gained, among other awards, the Grand Jury Prize at the 61st Berlin Film Festival in 2011.
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