In 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 and then collapsed to the ground. In less than a month, Nietzsche would be diagnosed with a serious mental illness that would render him bedridden and speechless until his death eleven years later. But whatever happened to the horse? This film – which the great Hungarian director Béla Tarr (whose Sátántangó screened at the MFAH in 2007)) claims is his last – is a speculative response. A farmer and his daughter proceed through their daily routine with minimal dialogue, frustrated that the horse they depend on has become obstinate. Tarr’s customary style of shooting in long takes – critics have counted a total of 30 comprising this film – was achieved by cinematographer Fred Kelemen and Steadicam operator Tilman Büttner, known for his work on the single take feature, Russian Ark. A challenging and riveting filmgoing experience, the The Turin Horse was Hungary’s official submission for the Academy Awards and received the Silver Bear and FIPRESCI Prize at the Berlin Film Festival, later selected for the prestigious Toronto and New York Film Festivals.
“Don't be too sophisticated. Just listen to your heart and trust your eyes. That's enough.” —Béla Tarr