The Turin Horse

The Turin Horse ★★★★★

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There's something so utterly unique to a Bela Tarr film. He has been compared to Tarkovsky and Bresson which I understand but at the same time disagree with. Tarkovsky's "time" is not the same time that you experience in a Tarr film. i have never (ever) been "in" a film as with The Turin Horse or Satantango. The manner of filming is uncompromising, intense and precise but at the same time relaxed and so natural in regard to what you see. You are "in" the films time sequence and also watching, experiencing this "film time". It is not "slow" as the film method is often described but actually moving and still in "real" time. Also you become very much aware of how we have lost or perverted our own experience of how time moves. Its not Barr's film that shows artificial time but the society that creates the unnatural movement of time. Taar allows us to feel how we have lost the sense of what "real" time is.
There is a wonderful moment in "The Turin Horse" when the father is served his daily meal of a very hot potatoe. Instead of waiting for the potato to cool down a little so he can enjoy his minimal meal he hurts his fingers by peeling and eating the hot potato as fast as possible. You wonder , "Why doesn't he wait for a moment ?". The movie is so slow and precise. Why must he rush ? The only rushed moment in the film is the moment you realize that you are in the "time" of the film watching someone who has no patience to wait. Wow !!!
In the beginning of "Werckmeister Harmonies" you again cordially invited into Tarr's time zone. It's closing time in the local pub when the pub owner allows a little more time so that Janos can show all the drunken men the dance of the total eclipse of the sun. Our bodies in the time movements of the earth, sun and moon.while at the same time in the pubs closing time.
This cinematic experience is far different and I think more "real" than anything that you might find in a Tarkovsky film. Film is not stuck in time but steps into the ongoing real time for 3 hours and creates simultaneously parallel times.
One of the few films that approximates the experience of real time in a cinematic structure is perhaps "Zidane" from the artist Douglas Gordon. In this film we are in the stadium / film watching Zidane, together with all the tv spectators. By isolating Zidane from the game we become aware what is happening is outside the restrictions of a 90 minute soccer game and in the 90 minutes of "real" time. At halftime Godon than shows us actual real time broadcasts of things that are going on all over the world at the same time. There are so many other "things" going on just as in the simple characters of a Barr film. Zidane is not anymore a superstar remote from us but a simple man,playing a simple game in the context of a universal time scheme.
A affinity with Bresson can be found in the roles of the nameless daughter with Mouchette and Marie from Au Hasard Balthazar and the saintly horse who has the identical uncanny look of Balthazar. Both animals know more than the rest and accept their fate.