The Turin Horse

Dir: Bela Tarr





Winner of both the Silver Bear and the FIPRESCI Competition prize at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, the latest (and he has claimed, the last) film from Hungarian maestro Béla Tarr (Sátántangó, Werckmeister Harmonies) is centred around German philosopher’s Friedrich Nietzsche’s reputed mental breakdown in 1889 in Turin.

What exactly happened remains unknown; but the story which Tarr uses posits that Nietzsche saw a horse being whipped in a piazza, ran to protect it then collapsed, afterwards succumbing to a mental illness which lasted the rest of his life. But what happened to the horse?!

Outlining the story of Nietzsche’s breakdown in an introductory voiceover, Tarr takes us through six days in the life of a man who seems to be the owner of the horse in question. Infirm and elderly, he lives with his daughter in a remote farm on the Hungarian plains, toiling to source water and food for them and their horse in a definitively bleak, weather-beaten landscape.

Odd travellers visit, driven by the constantly raging wind to seek sanctuary and speak to him. An elegiac parable, it seems (rather like a Samuel Beckett play) to be a commentary on the universe’s indifference to man.

Exquisitely composed by Fred Kelemen, and scored by Mihály Víg – both long-term Tarr collaborators – the lucid quality of Tarr’s trademark long takes gives The Turin Horse a feeling of great depth and spiritual substance. Immersive and fascinating, it’s a high note for the visionary filmmaker to end his career on.

Booking Information


Curzon Film

Release Date

1 June 2012

Blu-ray / DVD Bookings


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