From crying to discouragement

He says he retires from cinema and that will leave us a huge void. Béla Tarr is one of the greatest minds of European cinema and at a time when the death of Theo Angelopoulos has left us orphans of poetry and social criticism, the announced withdrawal of Tarr this orphanhood enlarges.

His latest film is The Turin Horse, winner of the Silver Bear-Grand Jury Prize and FIPRESCI Prize at Berlinale 2011. A story based on a real experience of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, or so it’s said, on January 3, 1889, when he saw the driver of a cart maltreating his horse in the street because it, exhausted, refused to move. As the story goes, Nietzsche could not help crying and hugging the animal so the shock was such that he lost his speech and consciousness until his death ten years later.

Tarr wonders about the other part of the story, the one of the horse and the cart driver. Tarr focuses on the narrative of the life of that man, surrounded by misery with her daughter and the horse on a farm in the middle of a bleak and stormy landscape, isolated, and almost at the gates of apocalypse.

The direction of Béla Tarr is based on a script written between himself and László Krasznahorkai, and it has the powerful cinematography work of Fred Kelemen, the best translation in images of Tarr’s film language as in the previous collaborations Journey to the Plain, 1995, and The Man from London, 2007. Film director and writer, his work is delicate and powerful at a time, being able of interpreting the path of Béla Tarr becoming his wonderful dance partner. The same goes for the music by Mihály Vig, also a regular contributor to Tarr’s films like Damnation, Satantango, in which he also performed the main role, Werckmeister Harmonies and The Man from London.

This is a new artistic triumph for the Hungarian director, loneliness, domestic violence as the result of helplessness and the misery of the environment, acting as hopeless communicating vessels that shown starkly, returned us all the ghosts we hide in our mind. If it is truly the last, thanks for all you have given us, master.


Text by Juan Carlos Romero
Photo courtesy of PacoPoch Cinema. All rights reserved