The Turin Horse
The Turin Horse
(Bela Tarr, 2011)
Reviewed by Dave Lancaster
Summary: The final film from Bela Tarr is a characteristically grim affair. Slowly, but surely, it takes your breath away.
'The Turin Horse' isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea. There's not much in the way of dialogue and next to no plot, but somehow this bleak black and white tone piece fills two and a half hours with admirable grace.
The story sees a farmer and his daughter come to the realisation that they will outlive their only essential in life - a beloved horse.
The setting is a shadowy, windswept, fog-drenched farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. With its slow pace and confinement as well as an increasing sense of dread and reliance on spiritual feeling, 'The Turin Horse' would make for a compelling (if potentially coma-inducing) double-bill with Dreyer's 'Ordet/The Word'.
Tarr begins his frames with black and only adds hints of whiteness when absolutely vital, creating the feeling that there isn't light at the end of this tunnel and that the protagonists are surrounded by a brooding sense of death.
'The Turin Horse' is the kind of challenging film that you have to surrender yourself to and almost sleep through to wake up to a dream of what it could mean after the end credits roll. If you try to piece together a traditional narrative experience out it, you'd be flogging a dead horse.
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