Special introductory event of the 25th Split Film Festival is devoted to the charismatic European director Béla Tárr. Special screening of his anthology work Werckmeister Harmonies (Werckmeister harmóniák, 2000) will be held on Wednesday, September 9, at the Dom mladih MKC, Split. The sequel to the dance of the damned is still preserved and projected on 35-mm film, and its Croatian premiere was 20 years ago at the 5th STFF. This tribute screening is an opportunity both for connoisseurs of philosophical European film and younger generations interested in the Tárr cult to witness one artefact of film history devoid of modern technology.
The screening starts at 9 PM, free admission.
WERCKMEISTER HARMONIES (b/w, 35 mm, 145 min)
Inhabitants of a provincial Hungarian town eagerly await the arrival of a circus whose main attractions are the body of “the biggest whale in the world” and the mysterious prince who has a strange talent for attracting violent followers. When the circus finally arrives to town everybody gathers on the main square to see the attractions. Soon the balance of the town is affected and feelings of tension, violence and pending apocalypse arise. Film’s co-director is Ágnes Hranitzky.
(b. 1955) Tarr is a Hungarian screenwriter and director. As a sixteen year-old he began making amateur films. His works attracted attention from Bela Balazs’s studio and he helped finance Tarr’s first feature film Family Nest (Családi tüzfészek, 1979), which the critics compared with John Cassavettes’ works. His next two films, The Outsider (Szabadgyalog, 1981) and The Prefab People (Panelkapcsolat, 1982), make up the first part of his career characterized by social topics and documentary cinema verité style. His TV adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth (1982), made in just two shots (the first one lasts 5, and the second 67 minutes) marked a change and announced the second phase in his career. In the mid-1980s he began his collaboration with the writer László Krasznahorkai and made several films based on his novels: Damnation (Kárhozat, 1988), Satan’s Tango (Sátántangó, 1994) and Werckmeister Harmonies (Werckmeister harmóniák, 2000). Damnation announced a change in the visual style by which the director became most recognizable (characterized by black and white picture and slow shots), and which peaked in the even-hour-long film Satan’s Tango. This film, as well as Werckmeister Harmonies, won the director international acclaim. Tarr won the award for outstanding contribution to the development of the film arts at the 11th Split Film Festival. His latest two films are The Man from London (A Londoni férfi, 2007), based on Georges Simenon’s short story, and the drama The Turin Horse (A torinói ló, 2011).