Werckmeister harmóniák (2000) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • 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
  • The story takes place in Hungary, shortly after WWII. Events center around young János Valuska. Trustworthy, caring and respectful, János enjoys a modest yet peaceful existence with his close knit, extended family. Undaunted by cosmic events that will soon overshadow the whole community, the artistically inspired János directs and narrates a performance for a motley crew of intoxicated misfits in a local bar. Shortly thereafter, a new exhibit featuring a great whale and a foreign prince arrives in town. Apparently, this public display has already caused much commotion in neighboring towns, and once again trouble appears to be brewing. Aunt Tünde tries to organize a committee to restore order. Uncle György, a reclusive reactionary, wants nothing to do with this 'media circus', but in order to avoid confronting his wife directly, he reluctantly agrees to be the chairman. János goes to see the whale and eventually realizes that the exhibit is indeed a diabolical threat to the community, but he still does not understand how or why. Events reach a frightening climax when a mob of angry citizens ransack a hospital. When all the smoke and debris has finally settled, János is left even more clueless than he had been to start. The film insinuates that the Soviets deliberately provoked social unrest in Hungary so as to provide context for a justifiable military takeover. Those who naively cooperated with the Soviets became puppets. Others who opposed the Soviets were either killed or ostracized. The big 'fish out of water' represents the elite members of Hungarian society, who were rendered utterly powerless and useless.

    - Written by Anonymous
  • 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".


Werckmeister Harmonies is an allegory of the post WWII Eastern European political systems told as a...

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