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The Turin Horse(A torinói ló)

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Hungary, France, Switzerland · 2011
2h 35m
Director Béla Tarr
Starring János Derzsi, Erika Bók, Mihály Kormos, Ricsi
Genre Drama

Based on an anecdote about Friedrich Nietzsche who, in Turin in 1889, is said to have seen a horse being whipped and protectively thrown his arms around it. This film imagines what happened to that horse, upon whom a poor farmer and his daughter depend for their survival.

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Variety by

Though ripe for metaphorical interpretation, the slender setup, about the fate of a horse seen beaten in the streets, gives arthouse audiences little to cling to, and will provide institutional and fest programmers a test-of-wills head-scratcher for their calendars.


The New York Times by A.O. Scott

The movie is too beautiful to be described as an ordeal, but it is sufficiently intense and unyielding that when it is over, you may feel, along with awe, a measure of relief. Which may sound like a reason to stay away, but is exactly the opposite.


Salon by Andrew O'Hehir

I left the theater oddly exhilarated - to see daylight again was so great! - and, odder still, eager to see it again (although perhaps not today). Tarr's films can be arduous, even wrenching, but they're not boring. Watching them is something like visiting the world's most fantastic art museum and taking an ice-cold shower, both at the same time.


Slant Magazine by Andrew Schenker

Béla Tarr is the cinema's greatest crafter of total environments and in The Turin Horse, working in his most restricted physical setting since 1984's Almanac of Fall, he (along with co-director Ágnes Hranitzky) dials up one of his most vividly immersive milieus.


New York Daily News by Joe Neumaier

This quiet drama is not for everyone. It may not even be for fans of Hungarian auteur Bela Tarr, whose spare, naturalistic films can be, well, trying. (The director has said that "Horse" will be his final film.)


Time Out by Joshua Rothkopf

Even on its own limited, rigorous aesthetic grounds, there are far superior movies (including all of Tarr's own work). It's a sad way for the 56-year-old to go out, almost a caricature of his funereal mood and of art cinema in general.


Village Voice by Nick Pinkerton

An experience comparable to starting down the road with an empty sack then, over the course of the journey, having it weighed down steadily with rocks until you can't go on. But this backbreaking effect cannot be called an artistic failure. It is exactly what Tarr sets out to achieve.


The Hollywood Reporter by Ray Bennett

By this time, cinematographer Fred Kelemen's mostly stationary camera has revealed about all there is to see in a fine array of textures in such things as the wooden table, the rough floors, the walls of stone, the ropes on the horse and the skin on the boiled potatoes. That does not, however, make up for the almost complete lack of information about the two characters, and so it is easy to become indifferent to their fate, whatever it is.


The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

The Turin Horse has a burnished beauty that's awe-inspiring, like a clear window into a faraway world as it dangles, and then falls, off the precipice.

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