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Werckmeister Harmonies [DVD]


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Werckmeister Harmonies [DVD] + Damnation [DVD] [1988] + Sátántangó [1994] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Lars Rudolph, Janos Derzsi, Hanna Schygulla, Peter Fitz
  • Directors: Bela Tarr, Agnes Hranitzky
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Hungarian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 6 April 2009
  • Run Time: 145 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001R65FJM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,749 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Hungarian director Bela Tarr follows his mammoth seven-hour 'Satantango' with this critically acclaimed story about a small Eastern European town on the brink of disaster. When a showman brings a huge whale to the town, along with a sinister side attraction known as the Prince, Lajos (Lars Rudolph) is fascinated by the creature and sees it as proof of a great cosmic design. However, the whale also proves to be a magnet for unrest, and the mob that gathers outside soon edges towards violence.

About the Director

The population of a desolate provincial town on the Hungarian plain await the arrival of a circus that features the stuffed carcass of a whale and a mysterious Prince. Its appearance disturbs the order of the populace, unleashing a torrent of violence and beauty. The Hungarian auteur Bela Tarr at last gained international recognition as one of the most distinctive and visionary of contemporary filmmakers with this quite extraordinary adaptation of László Krazsnahorkai s novel The Melancholy of Resistance . Featuring an outstanding cast, including Fassbinder veteran Hanna Schygulla, and a hauntingly beautiful score composed by Mihály Víg, The Werckmeister Harmonies is a hypnotic, challenging and utterly compelling masterpiece. Special features: Béla Tarr interview

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By DTK Molise on 2 April 2010
Format: DVD
On a cold, windswept square in a small central Hungarian town a carnival arrives with a giant stuffed whale as the special attraction. The town longs to find out what it looks like and to perhaps catch a glimpse of the potentially dangerous "Prince" who runs the show. The arrival of the carnival is the catalyst for unsettling this quiet town and a revolution begins to be fostered by members of the town's political elite...

Bela Tarr is the king of the long take yet this film is so much more than just a slow moving, black and white European arthouse picture. Based on the book "The Melancholy of Resistance" by László Krasznahorkai, Werkmeister Harmonies is a powerful meditation on loneliness, evil, political power, control, and the potential insanity of crowds. It's effect is in many ways elemental...it is hard to be specific about what Tarr is trying to explore but you will come away confused and exhilarated.

This is film making of the highest intellectual standard. In addition to the incredible shot making and photography the score provided by Mihaly Vig adds emotional weight to the images on screen. This is without doubt one of the most significant pieces of cinema produced in the last 25 years.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ivan Kovacs on 29 Jun 2010
Format: DVD
"Werckmeister Harmonies" is a must for all arthouse movie fans, and Bela Tarr, the director, deserves all the praise he can get for his new and dynamic way of presenting cinema. There are no expensive and large budget scenes in this film, yet it is astounding in portraying its apocalyptic subject matter by its simple and direct means and relatively sparse dialogue. The cinematography is magical and the acting is to the point. You don't have to be Hungarian to understand and identify with this post-communist tragedy, all you need to do is sit back and watch.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 5 Aug 2008
Format: DVD
The opening is one of the most intriguing I've come across. We're in a working class tavern in a small Hungarian village. It's closing time, but one of the drunks wants Janos (Lars Rudolph), the young mail carrier, to explain the cosmos again, and the meaning of a great eclipse. Soon Janos has these rough, staggering men shuffling around the one he has made the sun, one the earth, another the moon. Others join in, eyes unfocused, all caught up in something out of their understanding. "...and now," Janos says, "we'll have an explanation that simple folks like us can understand about immortality. All I ask is that you step with me into the boundlessness where constancy, quietude and peace, infinite emptiness reign. And just imagine that in this infinite sonorous silence everywhere is an impenetrable darkness." The temperature outside is 17 degrees below zero. It's cold to the bone, but without snow. And Janos says, "The sky darkens and then all goes dark. The dogs howl, rabbits hunch down, the deer run in panic, run, stampede in fright. And in this awful, incomprehensible dusk, even the birds, the birds, too, are confused and go to roost. And then...complete silence. Everything that lives is still. Are the hills going to march off? Will heaven fall upon us? Will the earth open under us? We don't know. We don't know."

Bela Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies seems to me to be a great combination of allegory about human beliefs, pessimism about human behavior and extraordinary movie making. The image of all these village drunks slowly shuffling and turning around one of their own, the sun, is pure cinema, original, striking and memorable.

Late that night, when Janos is delivering mail, he sees a huge truck slowly driving past a row of buildings leading to the town square.
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By Joe Ashmore on 26 May 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
One of the great works of cinema. Each shot is a stylistic tour de force. Bela Tarr is a visionary and the greatest living director. For those uninitiated with Tarr's languidly paced cinema; his often infuriatingly protracted shots: be patient! And maybe start with something like damnation
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By N. E. M. Goulder on 6 May 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is surely a masterpiece, taking Laszlo Krasznahorkai's fine and elusive novel (The Melancholy of Resistance) and transcribing it brilliantly for the screen. It's a haunting film, in which you oscillate between taking it as an allegory and a piece of bold realism. Hanna Schygulla only has a limited part but she is devastating. Lars Rudolph, in the lead male role of Valuska, delivers outstandingly on simultaneously playing the town postman-idiot while also having hugely intellectual understandings. The chaos that overwhelms the community is made to feel compellingly inevitable. It's a superb and thought-provoking achievement. I am bracing myself for the undertaking of Satantango.
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By L. Davidson VINE VOICE on 5 May 2014
Format: DVD
"Werckmeister Harmonies" is a mesmerizing film, directed by the Hungarian Bela Tarr. It is set in a small Hungarian town and the film is shot in monochrome and features the extensive use of long takes throughout. The film follows the life of Janos , an innocent, kind hearted young man , after the arrival into town of a circus featuring a large stuffed whale and a mysterious figure called the Prince. As the film progresses , the town descends into anarchy and mob rule , culminating in a memorable 15 minute scene where a silent, angry crowd march to a local hospital and proceed to beat up the patients. Janos gets caught up in these disturbing events as the forces of chaos displace those of law and order. To be honest , I couldnt make too much sense of this film, but it is visually impressive with many striking images and scenes and the soundtrack is good as well.
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