Who was it that argued about the unbearable lightness of being? A Father and a daughter live a monotonous life, in a deserted place. However, the weight of life starts overwhelming them. Winner of Jury Grand Prize and FIPRESCI Prize at Berlin Film Festival 2011.
The Turin Horse starts with an anecdote of Nietzsche. In January 1889, Nietzsche witnessed the whipping of a horse, ran to the horse, threw his arms up around its neck and sobbed. As it is known, Nietzsche was sent to a mental hospital after a few days and remained in a vegetative state for the next 10 years before he died. Bela Tarr turns his and our eyes to the horse instead of Nietzsche. A long take in the next 4 minutes 20 seconds represents Tarr’s way of ‘Ecce Homo’. The camera persistently captures the horseman, the horse and the carriage returning home through violent winds and this scene reminds us of The Phantom Carriage by Victor Sjostrom and Au Hasard Balthazar by Robert Bresson, creating a marvelous moment. For the next 140 minutes, only consisting of 30 shots, the film plunges us into the story of the horseman, his daughter and the horse in wild and bleak moorland for 6 days. The Turin Horse focuses on the daily repetition of the same routine: making a fire, drawing water, changing clothes, taking care of the horse, eating potatoes and going to bed; it is somewhat both Nietzschean and non-Nietzschean. Even faced with signs of the end, or the hardships in life, the horseman and the daughter remain strong with a grim determination and ceaseless energy. However, the horseman and the daughter are far from the noble spirit dreamt by Nietzsche who barely spoke to the lower class in his entire life. The Turin Horse embodies eternal return, tests of life and affirmation (something that film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum called passion), completing the image of nothingness (that Tarr may have desired), materialist film and the world beyond reproduction. In a film without narratives, we get to live the same life that a woman with windblown hair lives, that a man who peels off the hot potato with one hand lives, and the horse that won’t budge an inch lives. Four years prior to the year set in this film, Van Gogh already expressed how meaningful those people’s lives were in one painting. The Turin Horse is a cinematic answer to The Potato Eaters. Tarr declared that The Turin Horse would be his last piece and no films in the 21st century may be able to replace his absence.(LEE Yong-cheol)
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