Pierre Grise Distribution | Release Date: October 10, 2001
7.9
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 73 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
54
Mixed:
7
Negative:
12
Watch Now
Buy On
Review this movie
VOTE NOW
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Check box if your review contains spoilers 0 characters (5000 max)
10
panfrenAug 19, 2016
This is certainly one of the best films shot by Bela Tarr, and equally certainly his most accessible one. While it would be nice if the viewer had read previously the "Melancholy of Resistance" novel, on which the film was based, the filmThis is certainly one of the best films shot by Bela Tarr, and equally certainly his most accessible one. While it would be nice if the viewer had read previously the "Melancholy of Resistance" novel, on which the film was based, the film stands extremely well on its own- only the delirium of Krasnahorkay's loosely punctuated, Ulysses-style text is absent.
Needless to say, people who think Hollywood flicks have any relationship to the seventh art should look elsewhere: they will be disappointed.
Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
9
EpicLadySpongeMay 9, 2016
Werckmeister Harmonies is an example of how we take a harmony and make them look great in front of the view we're seeing and reviewing this movie in any course of the park.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
10
jameslucasutleySep 27, 2015
Béla Tarr is a master filmmaker, as cliché as that might be to say. Really though, he's up there with Tarkovsky, Bergman and all the other maestros of cinema. Werckmeister Harmonies is the best film of the 21st century so far, and it's goingBéla Tarr is a master filmmaker, as cliché as that might be to say. Really though, he's up there with Tarkovsky, Bergman and all the other maestros of cinema. Werckmeister Harmonies is the best film of the 21st century so far, and it's going to be tough to beat. In it there's a visual and metaphorical battle between darkness and light, taking place in that world that Tarr creates so well in his films. You know, the roads with no cars on; buildings so bleak they're concentration camp-like. It's dismal here, really dismal.

The opening shot (one of a stunning 39 in a film two and a half hours long), is cinematic perfection. It sets up everything to come in the film in terms of theme, style and is an example of the strange melancholy this art form can subtly create when the camera is in the right hands. This pub - realism - becomes a stage - theatre. We go from the backsides of drunken dwellers who stumble around the camera as if placed there to an elaborate fakery; a visual performance of a total eclipse. Darkness comes, then light saves everyone from this cold. It's humourous, the drunken men trying to act as the earth, moon and sun (and really messing up the solar system). An indication that humour will be present in Werckmeister Harmonies, and is present (I'm hinting at the kids needing to be put to bed). The performance becomes quite profound; Mihaly Vig's beautiful score plays. It ends with light coming - or does it? As the protagonist leaves the pub, the bartender tells him his play is over, to which our lead disagrees. Darkness is still prevalent, and light has not come yet. There is something grave threatening this town to come.

We see this further, in the next shot. A lot of this film is about going somewhere, and shot number two is just that. But going where? The figure walks in a bit of light which, as he progresses, gets smaller and darkness fills the frame. Not too long after this moment, a large truck arrives in town. Its movement is eerie (slow, since it carries a whale) and it appears from the darkness. This is what threatens this community.

Far more gripping than I initially thought, Werckmeister Harmonies is a deeply profound philosophical beauty of a film. A masterpiece.
Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
4
MattDanielDec 7, 2012
This guy imagined a good movie, but he wasn't able to do it. He got lost in typical pretentious mystification of art-house European cinema. A simple e strong story about social disorder is wasted on the director's need to profess hisThis guy imagined a good movie, but he wasn't able to do it. He got lost in typical pretentious mystification of art-house European cinema. A simple e strong story about social disorder is wasted on the director's need to profess his affiliation to a Cannes-type cinema. Great photography and excellent camera operation wasted on scenes that result remarkably boring. Acting direction has many ridiculous and amateurish moments. Beautiful music is also wasted when it's not used on the proper moments. In short, a film that could have been good if the director was more concerned with the film he wanted to make then he was with the kind of cinema from which he intends to move away from. Collapse
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
All this user's reviews
3
sterjsJun 11, 2012
This movie is aggressively pretentious and tedious. If you want to watch a contemplative film, watch Stalker by Tarkovsky instead. "I despise stories, as they mislead people into believing that something has happened." -Bela Tarr

Rest
This movie is aggressively pretentious and tedious. If you want to watch a contemplative film, watch Stalker by Tarkovsky instead. "I despise stories, as they mislead people into believing that something has happened." -Bela Tarr

Rest assured, Mr. Tarr, no one will be mislead into believe anything has happened in Werckmeister Harmonies.
Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
All this user's reviews
8
SindriFeb 20, 2011
Skillfully structured - There are those filmmakers that have the ability to change our perception of film as a medium for telling stories through images and dialog, communicating with a universal audience and creating awareness. DirectorsSkillfully structured - There are those filmmakers that have the ability to change our perception of film as a medium for telling stories through images and dialog, communicating with a universal audience and creating awareness. Directors like Campion, Loach, Bergman, Kubrick, Kieslowski and Tarkovsky are certainly some of those, and i had a similar experience after watching Bèla Tarr`s third feature, co-directed by Agnes Hranitzky, which tells the story of an utterly cold Hungarian town where the inhabitants await the arrival of a traveling circus which main attractions are a giant whale and a deformed speaking figure called The Prince. Most of the residents are suspicious about the upcoming event, but the local postman named Janus perceives it as a good sign.

While viewing this film i instantly began thinking of other east European directors such as Alexandr Sokurov, Theo Angelopoulos and Andrei Zvyagintsev who's film are marked by their focus on visual composition, length, long takes and concise dialog. Bèla Tarr's dark and tender vision of life in a remote provincial town is filmed in black and white, contains 39 long takes during a runtime of 225 minutes, is told through long monologues and concentrated dialog, uses natural sounds and has an unforgettable instrumental theme song composed by the directors longtime companion Mihàly Vig. This theme song and the refined black and white photography which was created by four photographers, evokes the collective state of mind of the citizens in the town and elevates the powerful moods which becomes a large character within this skillfully structured film. "Werckmeister Harmonies" an adaptation of a novel called "The Melancholy Of Resistance" which was written by Làszlò Krazsnahorkai in 1989 and the movie title refers to Andreas Wercmeister (1645-1706), a composer from the Baroque era and a musical theorist. It is a chronologically narrated character study about a man who's faith is immensely challenged when he begins to realize what is actually happening to the human kind he so firmly believes in. The story written by Bèla Tarr and Làszlò Krazsnahorkai follows the main character during the course of one eventful day as he walks through the streets of his hometown looking for signs that will confirm his believes. The caring and childishly curious Janus is brought to life by German actor Lars Rudolph who appeared in Hal Hartley's "Flirt" (1995) and Tom Tykwer's "The Princess and the Warrior" (2000). With a mysterious face that expresses a string of emotions and a subtly underplayed performance, he creates a rare and intriguing character. I consider this slow-paced fictional drama as a small masterpiece that communicates it's message with conviction and tells a credible story that is not hard to follow, but not always easy to watch. Bèla Tarr and Agnes Hranitzky's directing is commendable, their realized vision is magnificent, the acting is overall convincing, the opening scene is a striking example of cinematic art and what eventually puts all the pieces together and pointedly contrasts the common feelings of sadness that imprisons the souls of this film, is Hungarian composer, poet and songwriter Mihàly Vig`s spiritual music.
Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
All this user's reviews
10
seankAug 5, 2009
Everything about this movie clicked for me. The acting was perfect, the long takes were mesmerizing, the symbolism was powerful, the metaphorical relationship of music to nature and man-made control, and everything else this movie had to Everything about this movie clicked for me. The acting was perfect, the long takes were mesmerizing, the symbolism was powerful, the metaphorical relationship of music to nature and man-made control, and everything else this movie had to offer was absolutely perfect. I loved it. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
davidgJun 13, 2009
If this is not among the top 10% of the thousands of movies that have been released in the world in the last hundred years, there must be a huge disconnect between popularity and quality: a problem with the idea of voting for the good itself.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
nickpJul 22, 2008
Mysterious, dark and beautiful. I feel like I still don't fully understand it after watching it 3 times but still amazing.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
RezaTJun 24, 2008
Abbas Kiarostami`s career died a couple of years ago when he started using digital Cameras. I was depressed for a couple of years as I felt true artistic cinema has died. Thanks to Béla Tarr I realized I was wrong.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
RobertH.Oct 24, 2007
Tedious beyond belief. the interest comes in watching someone struggle unsuccessfully to manufacture art. the kind of allegory on display here because there is so little context just comes off as silly. the kind of film I love to hate and Tedious beyond belief. the interest comes in watching someone struggle unsuccessfully to manufacture art. the kind of allegory on display here because there is so little context just comes off as silly. the kind of film I love to hate and for that reason worth watching. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
9
AlexDOct 2, 2007
Reading user comments is hilarious. I love it when someone like Brad C. below stumbles unwittingly into a challenging experiment like this one, it flies over his head, and he ends up raging against his own befuddlement. Hey Brad: poorly Reading user comments is hilarious. I love it when someone like Brad C. below stumbles unwittingly into a challenging experiment like this one, it flies over his head, and he ends up raging against his own befuddlement. Hey Brad: poorly filmed? Really? I know you were bored, but those long takes are objectively, undeniably masterful in execution. And pointless? I'd say you just didn't get any of its many, complicated "points." In any case, a completely mesmerizing experience, for those hip to Bella Tarr's out-there wavelength. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
2
DanB.Sep 23, 2007
A huge disappointment. I'm all for very long takes and little plot--the films of Tsai Ming-Liang, for example, are mesmerizing to me--but I found this movie a chore to sit through.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
3
BruceH.Aug 24, 2007
I really wanted to love this movie. I yearned to discover more than artistic photography and moody lighting, but that was all there was. I am very educated and I always seem to understand symbolism in film. Here, if there was symbolism--and I really wanted to love this movie. I yearned to discover more than artistic photography and moody lighting, but that was all there was. I am very educated and I always seem to understand symbolism in film. Here, if there was symbolism--and dear god I hope that's what that was-- I didn't get it. I kept waiting for the moment of profundity, of closure, of understanding. It never came. If you like surreal, cryptic, bizarre films, then this is for you. Otherwise, ignore the high rating and save your time. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
1
BradC.Aug 1, 2007
This movie was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Poorly acted, poorly filmed, and horribly paced. The movie is pointless and unentertaining. You will feel the pain of you brain cells dying throughout the the film should you make the This movie was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Poorly acted, poorly filmed, and horribly paced. The movie is pointless and unentertaining. You will feel the pain of you brain cells dying throughout the the film should you make the mistake of watching it. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
AndresZ.Jun 16, 2007
Bela Tarr's surreal epic is an advance in pure avant-garde mastery - proof of Tarr's rise to power in Hungary. There are only 39 shots in the film, yet all are evocative of the presence of true magic. Along side with the great Bela Tarr's surreal epic is an advance in pure avant-garde mastery - proof of Tarr's rise to power in Hungary. There are only 39 shots in the film, yet all are evocative of the presence of true magic. Along side with the great roles in the film, Tarr's mise-en-scene is flawless at capturing the fear and atmospheric in its perfectly realized milieu. By far, "Werckmeister Harmonies" is, in every sense of the word, a masterpiece. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful
10
BobAJan 6, 2007
I know I'm supposed to comment more on the film than the other comments but I always thought that if you disliked a film then by all means lay into it with vigor. But to criticize those who disagree with you instead is cheap. If the I know I'm supposed to comment more on the film than the other comments but I always thought that if you disliked a film then by all means lay into it with vigor. But to criticize those who disagree with you instead is cheap. If the only way you can comprehend those with differing opinions is by considering them to be idiots, then that's pretty darn sad. Werckmeister Harmonies is a long, quite, difficult film that represents the best in art cinema. If you're a fan of Tsai Ming-Liang or Tarkovsky, you'll love this. If you don't like it after 10 minutes you wont like it after 2 and a half hours, turn it off and do something else. Cheers! Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
3
DillardS.Jan 4, 2007
Great photography, but not much else. Vacuous wannabee profundity.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
AdrianChanDec 30, 2006
Bela Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies: Can human bodies take up heavenly relations?
Bela Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies: Can human bodies take up heavenly relations?

"The first is Hamlet's great formula, 'The time is out of joint.' Time is out of joint, time is unhinged. The hinges are the axis around which the door turns. Cardo, in Latin, designates the subordination of time to the cardinal points through which the periodical movements that it measures pass. As long as time remains on its hinges, it is subordinate to movement: it is the measure of movement, interval or number. This was the view of ancient philosophy. But time out of joint signifies the reversal of the movement-time relationship. It is now movement which is subordinate to time. Everything changes, including movement. We move from one labyrinth to another. The labyrinth is no longer a circle, or a spiral which would translate its complications, but a thread, a straight line, all the more mysterious for being simple, inexorable as Borges says, 'the labyrinth which is composed of a single straight line, and which is indivisible, incessant.' Time is no longer related to the movement which it measures, but movement is related to the time which conditions it: this is the first great Kantian reversal in the Critique of Pure Reason." Gilles Deleuze, Preface "On four poetic formulas which might summarize the Kantian philosophy", Kant's Critical Philosophy, vii.
And might not the last sentence of this first paragraph in Deleuze's brilliant and brief study of Kant, be a statement about film?
"Time is no longer related to the movement which it measures, but movement is related to the time which conditions it: this is the first great achievement of film..."
Ever since film began to un-spool its own version of time at 24 frames per second, synthesizing it through simple optical illusion and the narrative innovations of montage (editing), film-makers have enjoyed the magic of imaginary time. And on occasion, a film-maker arrives who has an entirely different sense of time, a different breath, a gait out of step with the rhythms of time common to the moving picture.
Bela Tarr is one of those film-makers. And while he is often compared with the Russian master Andrei Tarkovsky (also a time-maker), Bela Tarr's temporalities are material, where Tarkovsky's are often symbolic and visual.
Asked once why the scene of villagers marching towards the town square in Werckmeister Harmonies lasted as long as it did, the director answered, simply, "that's how long it took to get there."
As simple as this is for an answer, there is something else at work in Tarr's camera work. Werckmeister Harmonies, at over 2 hours, contains only 39 shots. It took the director a day to edit together. But the effect of storytelling in so few shots is not just a reduction to the straightforward and direct capture of time. He is, I think, making film think with the body; and it is the body which, set in motion, resides in time.
Werckmeister Harmonies opens with a shot of town drunks in a bar enacting the orbits of the planets. A lone bulb hangs from the ceiling as the men spin and tumble slowly about the room, their bodies taking up heavenly relations. And this is what they do throughout the rest of the film: bodies move and are moved, they plod along empty roads by night; they gather in tedious crowds; they assemble for a march on the town square; they pillage a hospital; they walk adjacent to one another (there is a two minute tracking shot for which the director laid down over 300m of rail). And as the villagers in Werckmeister Harmonies are set in motion, so too is the viewer. Tarr makes the viewer think his film, and live its time, with him. I have watched as friends adjust their seats during many a shot, their own physicality coming under the spell of Tarr's temporality.
Can bodies think? Can minds think without bodies? Can we have social relations as heavenly as the relations among the heavenly bodies? Tarr's opening shot, in which we found the drunks losing themselves to vertiginal rotations, culminates with an eclipse. Tarr shows us an eclipse, an eclipse in the heavens, staged by village drunks. Light, obscured, is not darkness, as time, out of joint, is not motion.
Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
MarkAug 22, 2006
This film deserves praise for the chances it takes. Its visual style and steadily mounting mood of dread are expertly done and hauntingly effective. These strengths keep me from rating this film below a 5. The same cannot be said for its This film deserves praise for the chances it takes. Its visual style and steadily mounting mood of dread are expertly done and hauntingly effective. These strengths keep me from rating this film below a 5. The same cannot be said for its exploration of its themes. It is a film that means to suggest more than is there, a laudable goal but one I don't feel was achieved. Its intentions are simply overmatched by its pretensions. After a while, the wooden performances and long takes become more than tedious and the overreliance on heavy-handed "symbolism" insulting. Ultimately, this film is nowhere near as insightful as it pretends to be. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
JonasRiiseH.May 18, 2006
This is magic.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
TimApr 13, 2006
Not nearly as deep as it thinks it is. Overblown and ponderous.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
EdmundL.Apr 11, 2006
Absolutely one of the most incredibly gripping, moving and astonishing works of film art I've ever seen. Certainly, it's not a movie you just throw on to pass the time--but that is not what the director intended. Like Tarkovsky Absolutely one of the most incredibly gripping, moving and astonishing works of film art I've ever seen. Certainly, it's not a movie you just throw on to pass the time--but that is not what the director intended. Like Tarkovsky before him, Tarr's sumptuous long take style renders the viewer mesmerized until a well-placed shift in action and tone prove devastating and gasp-inducing. Not an easy film. But for those looking for something deeper, richer and more mysterious than the usual cineplex fare, this one will blow you away. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
3
MichaelL.Mar 14, 2006
A well deserved 3. I do admit it was courageous to shoot the extremely long takes, and minimalize the dialogue as to make the movie seem more "intelligent". Still, this movie made me sleep and did not raise the slightest bit of compassion A well deserved 3. I do admit it was courageous to shoot the extremely long takes, and minimalize the dialogue as to make the movie seem more "intelligent". Still, this movie made me sleep and did not raise the slightest bit of compassion for the townspeople from me. I think the first few minutes of the movie are very important to whether you buy the entire movie. It relies on the audience's ability to imagine all the possible emotions being felt by the unemotional actors. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
JimB.Jan 28, 2006
One of the finest movies ever made. Tarr has created a masterpiece which explores the relationship between superstition, fear, and totalitarianism, featuring some of the most magnificent photography in the history of cinema. A must-see, if One of the finest movies ever made. Tarr has created a masterpiece which explores the relationship between superstition, fear, and totalitarianism, featuring some of the most magnificent photography in the history of cinema. A must-see, if such a thing exists. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
ImreT.Jan 11, 2006
If you want to keep something with you after walk out from the cinema, it's absolutely for you. I saw it last week, but I can't stop to say to my best friends "you have to watch this". I've never thought that a film can make If you want to keep something with you after walk out from the cinema, it's absolutely for you. I saw it last week, but I can't stop to say to my best friends "you have to watch this". I've never thought that a film can make so much questions for me like this. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful