The Turin Horse

A torinoi lo
Director: Béla Tarr

Hungary, France, Germany, Switzerland, Drama, 2011, 146 min
It is said that the legendary German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche succumbed to madness when he saw a horse being whipped in the streets of Turin. Holding the horse and sobbing loudly, Nietzsche left a riddle to the following generations: why? Hungarian film maestro Béla Tarr asks a surprise question in his last picture: what happened to the horse? This leads to a gloomy family routine: the old and severely ill horse tries to obey his master as well as he can. This horse is the only profit guarantee. The farmer and his daughter need to understand the frailty of this link. The Turin Horse is a story told in the meditative style of Tarr combining the rigorous philosophy of Nietzsche, the inanity of being and the commonness of peasants. This film is officially confirmed as the last one in the filmography of Bela Tarr. It tells a story about, in the director’s own words, ‘the heaviness of being’.


2011 – FIPRESCI prize and the Silver Bear at Berlin International Film Festival (Germany).

About the director:

Béla Tarr was born in 1955, in Hungary. He was involved in the film kitchen from childhood as an actor and planned to be a philosopher – cinema had to remain a hobby only. His amateur work brought him to the attention of the Béla Balázs Studios (named in honour of the Hungarian cinema theorist), which helped fund Tarr's 1979 feature debut “Family Nest” (Csaladi tűzfeszek), a film influenced by the work of John Cassavettes. Everything changed after his first movie, which already argued for the great strengths of this creator: the ability to show bare social issues and derive philosophical problems through the everyday lives of ordinary people. “The Prefab People” (Panelkapcsola, 1982) continued in much the same vein, but with a 1982 television adaptation of “Macbeth”, his work began to change dramatically; comprised of only two shots, the first shot (before the main title) was five minutes long, with the second 67 minutes in length. Not only did Tarr's visual sensibility move from raw close-ups to more abstract mediums and long takes, but also his philosophical sensibility shifted from grim realism to a more metaphysical outlook similar to that of Andrei Tarkovsky. The idiosyncratic film manner, meditative storytelling and unique cinematography quickly gained recognition all over the world. The audience of the Kaunas International Film Festival knows B. Tarr from his film retrospective in 2010.
Section: Wide Angle

Screenplay: Laszlo Krasznahorkai, Béla Tarr

Dir. of Photography: Fred Kelemen

Music: Mihaly Vig

Cast: Janos Derzsi, Erika Bok, Mihaly Kormos