Turin Horse (2011)

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A tragically stark and bleak movie set to a haunting soundtrack and blistering natural soundtrack depicting a curious what happened next story that finalises the end of something..  I’ve been meaning to watch this film for such a long time, it sounded intriguing and I have a soft spot for black and white (long drawn out) movies.

The Turin Horse is very much a film makers film, it’s one of those film with lots of laurels that the average joe is going to frisbee the disc in disgust after the first 20 seconds. For me it’s a poem, meticulously composed by cinematographer Fred Keieman’s ever detailed eye that casts dark shadows over a story about the end of a world, if not the world.

A simple story makes a profound statement.

The film starts (and ends) in darkness, a narrator details the story about philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s life altering experience in Turin, where he witnessed a horse being whipped, he intervenes but is left in a fragile state until his death. The film literally breaks open into these dramatic scene of the horse owner Ohisdorfer (Janos Derzsil) dashing back home in the haze  misty greys to his abode and daughter (Erika Bok).

Here we discover that life is hard, very hard in fact, the days are chaptered and each oh them find the pair going through their daily routine but finding it harder and almost impossible to complete, everything starts to run down, the woodworms stop eating, as does the horse, the well dries up after some wayward gypsies turn up on their way to America, a neighbour tells about the destruction of the towns by the people when he pops over for some rum and “the daughter” is given an “Anti Bible” and this perplexing philosophical tale is not only thought provoking it’s so beautiful to watch.

The desolate soundtrack kilters between Vig Mihaly’s mournful minimalist score and the ever present wind (conjured by wind machines and even a helicopter at times), it’s relentless and often shocks when doors are open and full presence is appreciated. The film is comprised of 30 shots and some linger so long that the almost morph into a classical painting akin to Van Gogh’s, the Potato Eaters as the couple ravish their hot potato daily meals.

the turin horseI feel that the film could have explained a few more aspects but in turn I really do appreciate the ambiguity,  if more had been explained it would have turned it into a distressing horror. It’s going to be one of those films that we ponder about for years, with so many metaphors and mesmerizing scenes, drenched in a unique atmosphere.

While there is a bit of dialogue most of the film is silent, it’s actually about all the dialogue that the film could withstand, just the odd key swear word, details about the end of days is enough to enhance the dramatic tones. I honestly couldn’t get enough and adored every second of it, the only other thing that i felt could be of benefit that in the same way that Vampyr 1932) has had a tribute soundtrack made for it, I think an atmospheric black metal custom soundtrack would make a great addition. It saddens me that Tarr announced his retirement after this epic film and career…

Rating 8/10

R  –  Stalker, Uncle Boonmee who can recall his past lives, Au Hasard Balthazar, Ordet,
L – Modern Black and White films, Mostly silent movies, Horse Flicks, Father and Daughter
5B – Bela Tarr

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