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Poster for Werckmeister Harmonies (2000) 4K Restoration
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Werckmeister Harmonies (2000) 4K Restoration

Opens on June 9

Director: Ágnes Hranitzky, Béla Tarr Run Time: 145 min. Release Year: 2001

Starring: Alfréd Járai, Gyula Pauer, Hanna Schygulla, Lars Rudolph, Peter Fitz

Country: Hungary
Language: Hungarian

About the film:

One of the major achievements of twenty-first-century cinema thus far, Béla Tarr’s mesmeric parable of societal collapse is an enigma of transcendent visual, philosophical, and mystical resonance.

Adapted from a novel by the celebrated writer and frequent Tarr collaborator László Krasznahorkai, Werckmeister Harmonies (2000) unfolds in an unknown era in an unnamed village, where, one day, a mysterious circus—complete with an enormous stuffed whale and a shadowy, demagogue-like figure known as the Prince—arrives and appears to awaken a kind of madness in the citizens, which builds inexorably toward violence and destruction.

In thirty-nine of his signature long takes, engraved in ghostly black and white, Tarr conjures an apocalyptic vision of dreamlike dread and fathomless beauty. The film originally premiered in 2000 at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.

About the filmmakers:

Béla Tarr is a celebrated and influential art house filmmaker from Hungary known internationally for his elaborately staged and intricately orchestrated “slow” cinema. He started studying at the Film and Television Academy in Budapest after completing his first feature-length film, Family Nest (1979). He collaborated with Hungarian novelist László Krasznahorkai for Damnation (1988), the seven-hour epic Sátántangó (1994), and Werckmeister Harmonies (2000). Tarr’s other features include Visions of Europe (2004), The Man from London (2007), and The Turin Horse (2011). He has received prizes at major film festivals including Berlin, Cannes, and Locarno, as well as honorary doctorates and life achievement awards.

Tarr has guided emerging filmmakers all over the world. In 1981, he was one of the founders of Társulás Filmstúdió. After its closure in 1985, he continued working as an independent filmmaker. In 2003 he founded TT Filmműhely, an independent film workshop which was led by him until 2011. In 2013, he founded the film.factory in Sarajevo, where he was the head of program and professor till 2016. He has produced short and feature films, including executive producing the horror film Lamb (2021), directed by a former student at film.factory. He continues to be a visiting professor at film schools around the world.

Tarr is married to Ágnes Hranitzky, who has edited most of his films and is credited as co-director on several of his later features.

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