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The Turin Horse

Hungarian master Bela Tarr goes riding off into the sunset



Since Damnation (1988), the films of Hungarian master Bela Tarr have been set in a muddy, windswept limbo where people lead meager lives against the backdrop of an encroaching darkness. His latest (and reportedly final) work pares down that world to its essence: an old man and his daughter go through their daily routines—fetching water from their well, dressing, eating potatoes, trying to feed a horse—at a decrepit, isolated cottage. Through Tarr's meticulous vision, these ordinary hardships take on cosmic weight; this is tedium vividly rendered. Displaying little of the director's trademark dark humor, this isn't for every taste, but the superb sense of atmosphere and Fred Kelemen's gorgeous black-and-white camerawork make for an intense and occasionally riveting experience. Tarr's wife and editor, Ágnes Hranitzky, codirected. In Hungarian with subtitles.

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