Previously at the ICA - Films

Still: Werckmeister Harmonies, Dir Bela Tarr, 2000

Werckmeister Harmonies

16 Dec 2012

Set in a small, grey, anonymous run-down town in Eastern Europe, Belá Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky's powerful and wholly unique epic concerns the arrival of a strange attraction - a stuffed whale accompanied, it’s said, by a mysterious ‘Prince’ who provokes talk of uprisings. Demand to see the beast is tepid at best, with only the curiosity of János (Rudolph), a youth caught in the crossfire between his reclusive uncle (Fitz) and his estranged aunt (Schygulla), aroused. Though evoking a wholly palpable and yet somehow indefinable air of paranoia and anxiety and painting a compelling, if oblique, portrait of off-kilter relationships and communities, it is for Tarr’s singular visual style and approach to narrative that Werckmeister Harmonies has been rightly lauded. Lit in meticulous black and white and featuring little or no dialogue, the film - which took seven years to complete - proceeds in carefully choreographed sequence shots, expansive in length and beguiling in content and execution.

Dir Bela Tarr, Ágnes Hranitzky. Germany 2000, 145 mins, cert 12A

Cast: Lars Rudolph, Peter Fitz, Hanna Schygulla, Janos Derzsi.

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