UK Premiere: Werckmeister Harmonies

UK Premiere: Werckmeister Harmonies

classified 12A S

Restored & Rediscovered


Fri 26 July 16:30

Cinema 1, Watershed

Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky
Lars Rudloph, Peter Fitz, Hanna Schygulla
145 mins, Subtitled, 2000, Hungary
Primary language

How do you follow up a film as monumentally haunting as Sátántangó (1994)?

For Béla Tarr, the only option was to continue down the same dark path, though Werckmeister Harmonies is a mere two-and-a-half hours long, compared to his previous film’s seven-and-a-half.

Adapted from the novel The Melancholy of Resistance by László Krasznahorkai (whose work also formed the basis of Sátántangó), the film uses just 39 elaborate tracking shots to tell an allegory about chaos, mob rule and governmental control.

The film's protagonist János (Lars Rudolph) witnesses a strange, sinister circus set up in his small town, which also comes with a strange, stuffed whale...As events spiral out of control into violence, led by a mysterious off-screen figure from the circus known only as ‘The Prince’, János finds himself utterly lost. Riots take over, and the town is destroyed.

The title is in reference to the musicological theories of Andreas Werckmeister, who pioneered ideas around tuning and harmony in music: ironic then, that the film is a nightmarish journey into the abyss.

A 4K restoration courtesy of Curzon Film.

This UK premiere launches Will Heaven Fall Upon Us? A Béla Tarr Retrospective by Curzon Film in August at Watershed and across the UK.

Introduced by Cinema Rediscovered's Founder Mark Cosgrove.

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