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Werckmeister Harmonies (2000)

Werckmeister harmóniák (original title)
An innocent young man witnesses violence breaks out after an isolated village is inflamed by the arrival of a circus and its peculiar attractions, a giant whale and a mysterious man named "The Prince".


(novel), (screenplay) | 4 more credits »

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5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lars Rudolph ...
János Valuska
Peter Fitz ...
György Eszter
Tünde Eszter
János Derzsi ...
Man In The Broad-Cloth Coat
Djoko Rosic ...
Man In Western Boots (as Djoko Rossich)
Tamás Wichmann ...
Man In The Sailor-Cap
Ferenc Kállai ...
Putyi Horváth ...
Porter (as dr. Horváth Putyi)
Enikö Börcsök
Éva Almássy Albert ...
Aunt Piri (as Almási Albert Éva)
Irén Szajki ...
Mrs. Harrer
Alfréd Járai ...
Lajos Harrer
György Barkó ...
Mr. Nadabán
Lajos Dobák ...
Mr. Volent


This story takes place in a small town on the Hungarian Plain. In a provincial town, which is surrounded with nothing else but frost. It is bitterly cold weather - without snow. Even in this bewildered cold hundreds of people are standing around the circus trailer, which is put up in the main square, to see - as the outcome of their wait - the chief attraction, the stuffed carcass of a real whale. The people are coming from everywhere. From the neighboring settlings, even from quite far away parts of the country. They are following this clumsy monster as a dumb, faceless, rag-wearing crowd. This strange state of affairs - the appearance of the foreigners, the extreme frost - disturbs the order of the small town. Aambitious personages of the story feel they can take advantage of this situation. The tension growing to the unbearable is brought to explosion by the figure of the Prince, who is pretending facelessness. Even his mere appearance is enough to break loose destructive emotions.... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

1 February 2001 (Hungary)  »

Also Known As:

A Harmonia Werckmeister  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


FRF 10,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Director Béla Tarr spent almost a year finding the right square for some scenes in the film. See more »


Janos finds Lajos, who is supposedly dead, yet you can clearly see the actor breathing. See more »


György Eszter: I have to make it clear that not even for a moment is there doubt that it is not a technical but a philosophical question. So that the tonal system in question, through researches, has led us inevitably to a test of faith, in which we ask: on what do we base our belief that this harmony, the core of every masterpiece, referring to its own irrevocability, actually exists or not. From this it follows that we should speak of, not research into music, but a unique realization of non-music which for...
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References Damnation (1988) See more »


Radetzky March
by Johann Strauss Sr.
(played during the scene where Tünde Eszter (Hanna Schygulla) is dancing with the Chief Constable (Péter Dobai).
See more »

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User Reviews

Contemplative Film
28 October 2002 | by (Phoenix, AZ) – See all my reviews

made entirely of longshots of 2-4 minutes in duration. Layers of symbolism in poetic images. It's not a movie, it's not entertainment. It's film, and you have to engage and ask questions about what you are seeing. Why did only 2 people saw the whale? What was the significance of that? How did the riots get started? Who were the insiders and who were the outsiders? How could you tell? Why the hospital? Why do humans always need a causation? Why was the Prince's speech in a different language? What did the Prince represent? What did the Whale? A viewer may not want to be taxed with these questions but given the way the world is, these questions are worth thinking about. I've only seen one other "contemplative film" which is Angelopoulos' Ulyssey's Gaze, which I deeply cherish. This didn't get to me as deeply as it's images weren't as evocative to me. This is probably due to my being able access the cultural symbols of Angelopoulos more easily (though that film isn't "easy" either,it's just that I have more background in modern Greek poetry, etc.). Recommend this film as a unique chance to think of an alternative use of celloid, don't be intimidated.

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