Wednesday, February 29, 2012

USA Africa Dialogue Series - The Turin Horse (2011)

A rural farmer is forced to confront the mortality of his faithful horse.


Béla Tarr, Ágnes Hranitzky


László Krasznahorkai (screenplay), Béla Tarr(screenplay)


 János Derzsi, Erika Bók and Mihály Kormos

Film Summary 

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 mutters the obligatory last words, and lives for another ten years, silent and demented, cared for by his mother and sisters. 

Somewhere in the countryside, the cab driver lives with his daughter and the overworked horse. Outside, a windstorm rages. The horse refuses to move, and the man and his daughter struggle through their daily schedule. Food and water grow scarce. Beggars and gypsies come to their door. The horse stops eating. Slowly, the apocalypse approaches. 

Immaculately photographed in Tarr's renowned long takes, 
THE TURIN HORSE is the final statement from a master filmmaker.

The film was awarded the Silver Bear and FIPRESCI Prize at the Berlin Film Festival in 2011. It has been an official selection at the New York Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival and the Telluride Film Festival. Tarr has announced that 
THE TURIN HORSE will be his final film.

Béla Tarr was born in 1955, and grew up in Budapest, Hungary. He began making amateur documentaries at the age of 16 and shot his 1977 feature debut 
Family Nest at the age of 22, made with non-professional actors in a stark, realist style. His work made a dramatic shift with his 1982 video adaptation of Macbeth which is comprised of only two shots. In subsequent films, Tarr developed a durational aesthetic revolving around extended shot lengths, most famously in 1994's Sátántangó, a film heavily influential in both the film and art worlds, and of which Susan Sontag said "I'd be glad to see it every year for the rest of my life." Across the entire body of his work, Tarr has established himself as one of the defining filmmakers and greatest innovators in contemporary cinema.

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