Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I had never seen the famous classic film by Béla Tarr, Werckmeister Harmóniák, released in 2000 and distributed to the English-speaking world as Werckmeister Hamonies "Shot in black and white and composed of thirty-nine languidly paced shots, the film describes the aimlessness and anomie of a small town on the Hungarian plain that falls under the influence of a sinister traveling circus lugging the immense body of a whale in its tow."

There are lovers and haters of this film all over the internet, and the lovers (like me, I admit, now that I have watched the DVD) all talk about the poetry in the rhythm of the long slow scenes.

Hanna Schygulla, the favorite actress of Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1945-1982) back in the 1970s (and an icon of mine) makes an appearance in Werckmeister Hamonies as a scheming quasi-villainess.

From a 2001 interview with Béla Tarr –

"I just wanted to make a movie about this guy who is walking up and down the village and has seen this whale. And, you know when we are working we don’t talk about any theoretical things. We only ever have practical problems. And it’s the same with the writer. Mostly we just talk about life. How it’s going on the street. We never talk about theoretical things."