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We have Beards so we know Movies: A Torinói ló aka The Turin Horse (2011)

December 19, 2011

Yes, I am a adorer of cinema, or cinemá as we “movie lovers” like to call it. And as you know I review and list a lot of them.

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

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 19, 2011 10:59

    With Christmas fast approaching this film sounds like a great gift for a relative. A relative you don’t like.

    Sadly it also sounds like the sort of film I know that I should not start watching but will. And then having started watching know that I should stop watching but won’t. All the way to the end credits.

    • Sika permalink*
      December 20, 2011 10:59

      I couldn’t have said it better myself. Your comment could actually have been used as my entire review, instead of all that reporting I did on people eating potatoes…

  2. ixypixy permalink
    January 2, 2012 10:59

    can’t wait to see it… it takes a bit more than just sitting in the cinema and waiting for director to amuse us..even then, there is a thin line between amuse and abuse…how you see it also depends on the approach.. try adding self reflection next time you see a similar movie 😉 it could do good for you both 😉

    • Sika permalink*
      January 2, 2012 10:59

      I’ve seen a lot of movies over the years and to be honest i have never seen anything like this one before and think it will be a long time until a similar movie emerges. Self reflection is always a good thing even if I don’t think it would have helped in this case.

      Let me know what you think of it!

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