The Turin Horse

The Turin Horse

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 stubbon 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 until he loses his mind. Somewhere in the countryside, the driver of the cab lives with his daughter and the horse. Outside a windstorm rages. 3.9 out of 5 based on 12 reviews
The Turin Horse

Omniscore:

Certificate 15
Genre Drama
Director Béla Tarr
Cast Erika Bók, Mihály Kormos, János Derzsi
Studio Artificial Eye
Release Date June 2012
Running Time 146 mins
 

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 stubbon 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 until he loses his mind. Somewhere in the countryside, the driver of the cab lives with his daughter and the horse. Outside a windstorm rages.

Reviews

The Financial Times

Nigel Andrews

If I declare that the film is thrilling, beautiful and nearly heart-stopping you will say: “Oh you critics. How you love suffering. How you must think suffering is art.” No, dear reader, I have known real suffering: I have sat through Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. The Turin Horse, unlike that, is darkly funny. There is a lunatic poignancy to the steadfastness with which father/daughter hew to their daily habits: lifelines to the dream of an unchanging world. There is a corresponding horror to the moments in which familiarity cracks, hairline-fissuring faith, hope and comfort.

31/05/2012

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Time Out

Dave Calhoun

There are no direct answers, and the mastery of ‘The Turin Horse’ is that its meaning or meanings are there for the taking. Tarr works in mesmerising harmony with his cinematographer Fred Kelemen and composer Mihály Vig . Together, they lead us magnetically through the routines of this austere pair – taking out the horse, fetching water, eating just one boiled potato each for dinner… It feels like the creation story in reverse – a terrible, unavoidable walk into the dark.

30/05/2012

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The New Statesman

Ryan Gilbey

What makes Tarr’s work so bracing is that it reminds us how to watch films properly; that is, to give everything to the experience or nothing at all. In a culture where a contributor to an arts show can admit without fear of censure to fast-forwarding through passages in a film (as Giles Fraser did when supposedly reviewing Once Upon a Time in Anatolia for Radio 4’s Saturday Review), or when a Guardian columnist confesses to checking emails on his phone at the cinema (that’s Charlie Brooker watching, or not watching, Avengers Assemble), the demands that Tarr places on the viewer feel especially urgent. He chose the wrong time to jump on his horse and skedaddle.

31/05/2012

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Empire Magazine

David Parkinson

It’s gruelling, but utterly riveting: Tarr insists it’s simply a study in arduous monotony, but much can be read into this exceptional exercise in so called ‘remodernist’ cinema.

29/05/2012

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The Evening Standard

Derek Malcolm

If you can bear it, you may well find this film riveting, equipped with imagery you can’t get out of your mind. But then that is always Tarr’s way: there is no one quite like him as a “remodernist” minimalist. He burrs his way into your mind.

01/06/2012

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

Among the characters, the horse has a Houyhnhnm-like dignity. Perhaps it was the Fool to Nietzsche's Lear, or perhaps Nietzsche has transmigrated into the horse itself, and now impassively watches humanity's final days – though the old man, with one arm incapacitated by a stroke, has himself a faint look of Nietzsche. The movie exerts an eerie grip, with echoes of Bresson, Bergman and Dreyer, but is utterly distinctive: a vision of a world going inexorably into a final darkness.

31/05/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Jonathan Romney

In some ways, it's the most extreme of Tarr's films – and certainly the simplest. Co-written, once again, by novelist Laszlo Krasznahorkai, The Turin Horse is a minimalist distillation of Tarr's cinema: little more than a man, a woman, a horse, a house, some wretched weather, and very few words. The narrative content is so slender that it's barely even an anecdote, yet the film has the disturbing resonance of some ancient imponderable fable.

03/06/2012

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The Los Angeles Times

Betsy Sharkey

The director, whose portraits of the Hungarian poor can seem etched out of tears, does not offer simple answers to that question or any other. What he does give us in "The Turin Horse" is a treatise on human existence at its most elemental, and in that he could not have been more eloquent. This, however, is not a film for everyone, taking its time as stubbornly and as deliberately as the horse that got the whipping.

02/03/2012

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The Times

Wendy Ide

Though not an easy film, you would be hard-pressed to find a more visually eloquent example of the poetry of despair. The gruelling monotony of these embattled lives has an inexorable momentum. The howl of the wind that keeps the father and his stoic daughter as prisoners in the house takes on a keening, human quality — a wail of grief. The final shot of the father and daughter sat facing each other at the table, staring desolately at their raw potatoes, is one of the bleakest images ever to be committed to film.

01/06/2012

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The New Yorker

Richard Brody

Tarr is an impressive archeologist of moods and an anthropological mythmaker—but his sumptuous and demanding pictorialism seems incidental and ornamental and suggests an aestheticizing vanity that thrusts his sympathies onto the screen like a proscenium arch.

05/02/2012

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The New York Times

A. O. Scott

Those potatoes would cook faster if the daughter cut them up, but cutting — or, for that matter, making anything go faster — is antithetical to Mr. Tarr’s methods. There are only around 30 shots in the 2 hours 26 minutes of “The Turin Horse,” and it has, like certain musical compositions, the power to alter your perception of time. Mr. Tarr wants us to see, to feel, just how long things take, to experience the weight and density of time in an austere, technology-free setting.

09/02/2012

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The Sunday Times

Edward Porter

Presented with a certain grandeur, and I enjoyed it for a while, without finding it greatly resonant — just as you can enjoy a Radiohead song without believing Thom Yorke to be a profound poet. Well before the end, however, the film’s emptiness makes it tedious.

03/06/2012

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