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Werckmeister Harmonies (2000)

Werckmeister harmóniák (original title)
An innocent young man witnesses violence break 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."

Directors:

Béla Tarr, Ágnes Hranitzky (co-director)

Writers:

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

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5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lars Rudolph Lars Rudolph ... János Valuska
Peter Fitz Peter Fitz ... György Eszter
Hanna Schygulla ... Tünde Eszter
János Derzsi ... Man In The Broad-Cloth Coat
Djoko Rosic Djoko Rosic ... Man In Western Boots (as Djoko Rossich)
Tamás Wichmann Tamás Wichmann ... Man In The Sailor-Cap
Ferenc Kállai Ferenc Kállai ... Director
Mihály Kormos ... Factotum
Putyi Horváth Putyi Horváth ... Porter (as dr. Horváth Putyi)
Enikö Börcsök Enikö Börcsök
Éva Almássy Albert Éva Almássy Albert ... Aunt Piri (as Almási Albert Éva)
Irén Szajki Irén Szajki ... Mrs. Harrer
Alfréd Járai Alfréd Járai ... Lajos Harrer
György Barkó György Barkó ... Mr. Nadabán
Lajos Dobák Lajos Dobák ... Mr. Volent
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Storyline

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

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Hungary | Italy | Germany | France

Language:

Hungarian | Slovak

Release Date:

1 February 2001 (Hungary) See more »

Also Known As:

A Harmonia Werckmeister See more »

Filming Locations:

Hungary

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Box Office

Budget:

FRF 10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$25,461
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is composed of 39 languidly paced tracking shots. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

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...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Paris, je t'aime (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Book 1 - Prelude No. 8 in E-flat minor (BWV 853)
from The Well-Tempered Clavier
composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
The "grating" recording that György listens to in his study, though the piano is far from "perfectly tuned".
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Slow paced, beautiful descent into madness!
27 February 2006 | by NateManDSee all my reviews

There's one film that sends shivers up my spine just with it's mere title and that's Bela Tarr's "the Werckmeister Harmonies". It's one of those films that may infuriate some viewers meanwhile leaving others awestruck. The story concerns a very cold winter in a small Hungarian town. The camera follows a man Janos in his various everyday events. We know that this is no ordinary film during the poetic intro in the bar, where the various customers act out different parts of the solar system in rotation. The peaceful order of the village is disturbed, when a traveling circus comes to town. The circus has a stuffed whale carcass on display and abnormalities in jars. A man known as the prince who runs the circus remains in hiding. The stuffed whale seems to have a mystical power. These and other small events which are not fully explained lead the town's people to go crazy and eventually turn violent. This film is very slow, at some times unbearable. Certain events are filmed in real time. Similar film's that come to mind are Antonioni's "Avventura,L" and Heneke's "Code Unknown" Although this film is super slow at times, I loved it. There is something that is gripping about it. It is very surreal and emotional. The scene where the villagers go crazy and raid a nursing home almost brought me to tears. The films musical score is so haunting, it will stay in your mind forever. Also director Gus Van Sant is highly influenced by the films of Bela Tarr and it's apparent in his more recent work like "Gerry" and "Elephant". "The Werckmeister Harmonies" is a masterpiece that's not for everyone. I recommend it for viewers who are extremely patient and are looking for something different.


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