A film by Béla Tarr
Wednesday, June 24
21:00 — Mindpirates Projektraum
To help celebrate the launch of Fireflies #2, we screen Béla Tarr’s WERCKMEISTER HARMONIES!
The world of Weckmeister Harmonies is clearly standing on some kind of brink: Jobless hang around in the streets, families are disappearing, revolution is in the air. The time is ripe for people’s imaginations to be seduced.
A mysterious circus run by unseen foreigners has come to town, and villagers have flocked from all over, drawn by a promised appearance by “The Prince.”
At the moment, however, all that’s on show is a life-size stuffed whale inside a large truck.
After a decade of gritty social-realist dramas, Tarr developed a more expressive style based on stark lighting, long takes, and graceful camera moves. The events of ”Werckmeister Harmonies” unfold in only 39 shots, flowing like a torturous dream on the brilliantly composed black-and-white cinematography and its elegiac score.
“In his haunting, beauteous ”Werckmeister Harmonies,” the avant-garde Hungarian filmmaker Bela Tarr meditates on mankind’s place in the cosmos, the wonders of God and the timeless immanence of evil and irrationality that loose anarchy and invite tyranny. […] Mysterious, poetic and allusive, ”The Werckmeister Harmonies” beckons filmgoers who complain of the vapidity of Hollywood movie making and yearn for a film to ponder and debate.” – Lawrence Van Gelder, New York Times
“Essential viewing, especially for anyone new to Tarr’s cinema.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
“Werckmeister’s standout moments are searing like few others in film history. […] Tarr belongs to the cinematic tradition of Luis Buñuel and Werner Herzog, in that he twists reality into impressionism.” – A. V. Club
“There is a state of film reverie that longer films can create. You are lured away from the clock ticking in your mind and drift in a non-temporal state. Tarr’s camera drifts as well; it is rock-steady (even though hand-held at times), and glides smoothly through unbroken takes which become long shots, tracking shots, closeups, framing shots, all without haste or indecision, all without a cut.
So do you just sit there, friends ask, and look at the shots? Well, yes, that’s what everybody does when they watch a film. But they don’t always see the shots as shots. Bela Tarr’s style seems to be an attempt to regard his characters with great intensity and respect, to observe them without jostling them, to follow unobtrusively as they move through their worlds, which look so ordinary and are so awesome, like ours.” – Roger Ebert