Werckmeister Harmonies

2000 [HUNGARIAN]

Action / Drama / Mystery

10
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 98% · 53 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 90% · 2.5K ratings
IMDb Rating 8.0/10 10 16034 16K

Director

Top cast

Hanna Schygulla as Tünde Eszter
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU 720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1.31 GB
1194*720
Hungarian 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
2 hr 26 min
Seeds 13
2.44 GB
1792*1080
Hungarian 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
2 hr 26 min
Seeds 33
1.31 GB
1194*720
Multiple languages 2.0
NR
24 fps
2 hr 26 min
Seeds 8
2.43 GB
1792*1080
Multiple languages 2.0
NR
24 fps
2 hr 26 min
Seeds 22

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by gray4 9 / 10

Bleak and gripping, a great European film

This is as bleak a film as I have since for a long time. Seen mainly through the eyes of a 'holy fool', played by German Lars Rudolph, it may be allegorical, it may be a horror story or it might even be a distinctively Hungarian very black comedy.

Bela Tarr's direction is stunning. The lighting is brilliant throughout, but none more so than when the circus comes to town in the middle of the night. The care and patience with which scenes are built greatly enhances the intensity of the most violent moments. The scene, for example, when a mob march down a long street before attacking a hospital matches the greatest moments of black-&-white silent cinema.

The film retains a disturbing ambiguity throughout, right up to its powerful ending. What is the significance of the whale and its owners? And is Valuska (Lars Rudolph) as innocent as it seems on the surface? The result is a long (140 minutes), gripping and exciting film that leaves more questions than answers at the end.

Reviewed by Janazz 9 / 10

Contemplative Film

made entirely of longshots of 2-4 minutes in duration. Layers of symbolism in poetic images. It's not a movie, it's not entertainment. It's film, and you have to engage and ask questions about what you are seeing. Why did only 2 people saw the whale? What was the significance of that? How did the riots get started? Who were the insiders and who were the outsiders? How could you tell? Why the hospital? Why do humans always need a causation? Why was the Prince's speech in a different language? What did the Prince represent? What did the Whale? A viewer may not want to be taxed with these questions but given the way the world is, these questions are worth thinking about. I've only seen one other "contemplative film" which is Angelopoulos' Ulyssey's Gaze, which I deeply cherish. This didn't get to me as deeply as it's images weren't as evocative to me. This is probably due to my being able access the cultural symbols of Angelopoulos more easily (though that film isn't "easy" either,it's just that I have more background in modern Greek poetry, etc.). Recommend this film as a unique chance to think of an alternative use of celloid, don't be intimidated.

Reviewed by ian.lavery 8 / 10

Demanding, but rewarding

Imagine it. You spend four years on a project, with big funding hassles and changes in crew; and then, finally, after your film is very enthusiastically received at Cannes, the lab goes and destroys the only English-subtitled print before it's shown at the Edinburgh festival. Obviously Bela Tarr doesn't have his sorrows to seek.

Some might accuse the film--which centres on a rural town riven by the arrival of a "circus" consisting only of a dead white whale in a corrugated iron trailer and a character called "The Prince" whose nihilistic and inflammatory remarks incite riots--of veering very close to a parody of miserabilist cinema. Okay, so it's in black and white; there's a lot of mud, rubbish, smoke and wetness; there's not much dialogue between not very attractive people; every take lasts between five and ten minutes; and there are many scenes of people trudging through cold and bleak landscapes. (You'll never see so much trudging in a film.) Lars Rudolph, as the hero Janos, looks like a cross between a young Klaus Kinski and Frasier's brother, Niles, and spends most of the film wild-eyed and harried.

However, Tarr's distinctive style--exceptionally fluid and intricate tracking shots rendered in beautifully sharp monochrome--perfectly matches the grim story, which, as the director pointed out, explores the "boundaries between civilisation and barbarism". Any seemingly parodic moments are far outweighed by extremely powerful ones, notably the opening scene in a pub where the hero explains what an eclipse is using the sozzled bar clientele; the hero's deeply unsettling encounter with the "Prince"; and the mob's attack on a hospital.

Although the narrative falls apart a bit in its closing scenes, the film's images stay with the viewer in ways unmatched much recent cinema. This film demands your time and concentration, but rewards them; it has a unique and mesmerising rhythm. And the music, by Mihaly Vig, is simply beautiful.

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