If long takes, apocalyptic imagery, post-Soviet allegory, and demented circuses are your thing—and let's face it, on this site, they probably are—you owe it to yourself to track down a copy. Like Tarr's Satantango, but more direct, it's about a Devil's Choice between order and chaos, here seen by a soulful young man who'd like to believe that enlightenment can trump violence, and harmony is the music of the spheres.
i think this is simply one of the greatest films ever made. a wilfully elusive, fabulous, mysterious, folksy fable concerning a whale, an opaque prince, a dow-eyed, star-crossed & martyred protagonist, in a village where wonder & murderous paranoia erect their pillars in order to torch them again. words fail me. this movie owns me & my hovel-bound heart for all time. left me splayed & trailing stars forever.
Unbelievable experience to see this for the first time. The opening scene pulled me right into the film and for the next 145 minutes I was absolutely hypnotised. It is going to be hard to meet my expectations when I will watch Tarr's next film (The Turin horse) soon. This is without a doubt one of my all-time favourite films.
Cosmic truths elude the common man as a small Hungarian community lurches toward unrest and revolution seemingly brought on by the arrival of a circus featuring a prince and a dead whale. Tarr's shots always linger a bit longer than one feels like they should, but the effect is intoxicating, creating a kind of poetry of the commonplace, often bordering on surrealism. Bears comparison to Tarkovsky.
It's like a nightmare, ripped from a world where both horror and beauty coexist in constant conflict. The direction in Werckmeister Harmonies is even more masterly and assured than in Satantango, and the images are even more stunning. Bela Tarr is truly one of the great directors of our time.