We have Beards so we know Movies: A Torinói ló aka The Turin Horse (2011)
In an attempt to do my own “Top 10 Movies of 2011” list I decided to add a bit more class to it than Janne the Director’s attempt who simply just put a bunch of ape and ballet movies he’s seen on his list. So what better way to class things up than to watch The Turin Horse (A Torinói ló), director Béla Tarr‘s last film and the Hungarian submission to the Best Foreign Film category of the 84th Academy Awards 2012! AND an 8.3 out of 10 rating on IMDb!!
The Plot: 1889. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche witnessed the whipping of a horse while traveling in Turin, Italy. He tossed his arms around the horse’s neck to protect it then collapsed to the ground. In less than one month, Nietzsche would be diagnosed with a serious mental illness that would make him bed-ridden and speechless for the next eleven years until his death.
But whatever did happen to the horse?
Yeah, forget Nietzsche, this is all about the fate of the horse. It turns out the horse is owned by a rural farmer who makes his living taking on carting jobs in the city with his horse-drawn cart. We don’t get to see much of that though.
I really don’t know how to review this so I decided to just show you the notes I made while I was watching.
27 minutes into the movie someone speaks for the first time. They talk about woodworms for a minute. Don’t know what it’s all about, but it sounds important. Can’t wait to see the pay-off.
30 seconds of potatoes boiling, followed by a two minute scene of the father eating a potato. All in silence, apart from him doing “oh this potato is hot” sounds. Followed by the daughter eating a potato for a minute and then cleaning the table. Not long enough you say? Don’t worry, there’s a three-minute scene with her eating a potato later on.
And if you’re no fan of potatoes there’s also a 3-minute scene where the father chops wood. Also in silence. And I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but there’s also a scene where the daughter hangs laundry and one of the shirts covers the entire screen for thirty seconds. Also in silence.
I realize I write “in silence” a lot, actually there ARE sound and a musical score, but they hardly ever speak. Except for the woodworms discussion. Still no pay-off on that.
There’s a lot of staring going on. At walls, out of windows. For minutes. Literally.
There are loads of moments where I’m certain they are going to say something and then; nothing. They start staring at something like a bucket of water or the stove instead.
Suddenly some guy visits and delivers a five minute philosophical monologue which ends with the father saying “That’s rubbish”. The guy gives like a “Whatever”-gestures and leaves.
More potato eating.
What? Visitors? Oh it’s scary gypsies stealing water from the well. Bit racist.
I just watched a 7-minute “unloading of a cart in real-time” scene. I miss the potato eating scenes.
Hold on, here’s another one now.
This movie is set over 6 days. It’s in black and white. And 146 minutes long. I feel like this is my initiation to calling myself a cinephile.
It feels like I’m watching MTV’s The Real World: Hungary directed by Ingmar Bergman and set in the late 1800’s.
I’m sorry to say, this movie is not making my Top 1o Best Movies of 2011 list even though I know a lot of other reviewers have put it on theirs. At least the pretentious ones who doesn’t want to admit that “This potato eating documentary is crap”. Saying it’s crap though, I wouldn’t be surprised if it DID get nominated for an Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award since it’s a truly gritty, slow-paced, silent movie in black and white and shot like it was done back in the days. You know, bad lighting and stuff like that.
The horse was amazing though, it delivers a truly great performance. Some reviewers have said they smell an Oscar, but that’s probably just horse shit. Hahaha, made myself laugh.
The End. What? But what about the woodworms? Damn it.
More “We have Beards so we know Movies!” Reviews
The Turin Horse (2011) — Straw Dogs (2011) — Abduction (2011) — Midnight in Paris — Catfish — Green Lantern — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 — Death Wish 1-5 — Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D — Super 8 — Melancholia — Insidious — Red Riding Hood — The Hangover Part II — Fast Five — Thor 3D — Tron: Legacy
- RIFF Review: The Turin Horse (filmophilia.com)
- Of Horse And Man (theseventhart.info)
- Sleep Deprivation, Hungarian Potatoes & Oscar Charts (thefilmexperience.net)
- MIFF 2011 Film Review: THE TURIN HORSE (australianfilmreview.wordpress.com)
- Critic’s Notebook: New York Film Festival, With Bela Tarr and Nuri Bilge Ceylan (nytimes.com)
- The Turin Horse (chicagoreader.com)
- Angora Holly Polo: The Turin Horse (A TorinÃ³i lÃ³) (huffingtonpost.com)