Werckmeister Harmonies
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Bela Tarr follows up on his seven-hour epic Satantango, considered by some critics as one of the finest films of the 1990s, with this elegant, haunting work about the cycles of violence that have dogged Eastern European history. Jancos (Lars Rudolph) is a wide-eyed innocent who works as an occasional postal worker and as a caretaker for Mr. Ezster (Peter Fitz). An outsider and a visionary, he marvels at the miracles of creation, from the planets rotating in the heavens to the sundry animals on earth. One day, a circus featuring jars full of medical anomalies and a massive dead whale entombed… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"As wearying as the film becomes in its long, bleak sequences, its uniquely cinematic and emotion-charged experience makes the effort worthwhile."
‑ Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
"A chilling, mesmerizing, intense account of ethnic cleansing (in spirit if not in letter) from Hungarian master Bela Tarr."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Densely symbolic, yet never inaccessible, this is artistically unique and overwhelmingly powerful."
‑ David Parkinson, Radio Times
"A mesmerizing eulogy to the waning days of artistic beauty and free speech, and not to be missed."
‑ Michael Fox, SF Weekly
"Here cosmos and chaos, action and reaction, hope and despair, love and anger, all bump and grind together in a Satanic tango"
‑ Anton Bitel, Eye for Film
"Six years after the 7-1/2-hour Satan's Tango, Magyar maverick Bela Tarr makes a stunning feature return with "Werckmeister Harmonies," another hypnotic meditation on popular demagogy and mental manipulation that's a snap at 145 minutes."
‑ Derek Elley, Variety
"Over two hours and 20 minutes, not much actually happens, and Tarr creates a mood so lulling that even the rare scenes of dialogue can be hard to follow. But Werckmeister's standout moments are searing like few others in film history."
‑ Noel Murray, AV Club
"This is as challenging as movies come, alluding to everything from philosopher Thomas Hobbes to the history of Western music. But compared with Tarr's legendary Sátantángo... it's almost a quickie."
‑ David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
"The thing is, and this is easy to lose sight of in conversations about tracking shots and pointedly empty acting and symbolic cetaceans, [this] is an extraordinarily pleasurable experience to watch."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"It's shot in static or very slow-moving long-takes; the monochrome images are deliberately oppressive; the pace would strike the organisers of a state funeral as excessively slow."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"Bela Tarr's style seems to be an attempt to regard his characters with great intensity and respect, to observe them without jostling them, to follow unobtrusively as they move through their worlds, which look so ordinary and are so awesome, like ours."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Weird, wonderful, witty and unsettling."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Whatever your response, there's no doubting the technical brilliance of one extended sequence, as a mob rampages through a hospital before being halted by an unexpected vision. Astonishing."
‑ , Total Film
"... it is difficult not to be moved by the whale carcass, just as later, a naked old man discovered standing in a hospital bath finally quells the rioting - both symbols of man facing his mortality."
‑ Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"Limited appeal, a slow pace, a demanding film; but as interesting a work of art as the best of films"
‑ Marty Mapes, Movie Habit
More reviews for Werckmeister Harmonies on Rotten Tomatoes