The Turin Horse (2011)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  

Original title:  A Torinoi Lo

Hungary/France/Germany/Switzerland/USA, 2011.  TT Filmmûhely, MPM Film, Vega Film, Zero Fiction Film, Werc Werk Works, Motion Picture Public Foundation of Hungary, Ministry of Education and Culture, National Cultural Fund, Hungarian Historic Motion Picture Foundation, Duna Televízió, Erste Bank, RSI-Radiotelevisione Svizzera, SRG – SSR, CNC, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Eurimages.  Screenplay by , Bela Tarr.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , , ,.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Film Editing by Agnes Hranitzky.  

A film of dreamlike quality, rich with wondrous images that resonate long after its conclusion. The known anecdote with which it begins is that of Nietzsche embracing a horse he sees being beaten on the street, which we learn was followed by the great thinker going home and succumbing to his final illness. What of the horse, we are asked, and what world did he come from. That animal is owned by a dour, spiritless master who resides in a farmhouse with his dutiful daughter, the two of them going through daily routines without inspiration and constantly at the mercy of the weather. Long sequences, many of them in single takes, of repeated rituals such as cleaning and eating look stunning in the monochrome cinematography and are accompanied by the haunting musical score, their lives punctuated by a visit from a neighbor spouting existentially critical matters of the point of existence. That visit also provides the film’s highest concentration of dialogue, since it is mostly a series of wordless images that evoke the sense of mortality that is weighing on the lead characters’ mind as he watches his animal sink into aging. It is reportedly Bela Tarr’s last feature, and it is the work of an accomplished master.

Berlin Film Festival Award:  Grand Jury Prize

European Film Award NominationsBest European Director (Bela Tarr); Best European Cinematographer; Best European Composer

Toronto International Film Festival:  2011

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s