The Turin Horse (2011)

StarStarStarEmpty Star

Director: Béla Tarr, Ágnes Hranitzky
Cast: János Derzsi, Erika Bók


An evocation of the anecdote whereby Nietsche's witnessed mistreatment of a horse in Turin occasions a mental breakdown prompts a scenario in which a farmer's horse, its owner and his daughter lead a repetitive, punitive life buffeted by incessant gales.

The Review

The director's avowed swansong is a reaffirmation of the central thesis of Satantango, that Man is both the victim and architect of ecological decline, and that the struggle against injustice is a chimera peddled by religion. The effect of thirty unbroken takes observing the almost ritualistic routines of this father and daughter's existence over the scenario's six days is mesmeric but requires a supreme effort of willpower best exerted over an uninterrupted theatrical performance, preferably in the morning. The almost total absence of background information regarding the characters' situation may be frustrating, but is part of the creators' purpose in attaining a quasi-philosophical tone wherein their role is symbolic. Think Vladimir and Estragon without the jokes.