Werckmeister Harmonies
(Werckmeister harmóniák)

feature, 35mm, 145 minutes, 1:1.66



This story takes place in a small town on the Hungarian Plain.
In a provincial town, which is surrounded with nothing else but frost.
It is bitterly cold weather � without snow.
It us twenty degrees below zero.
Even in this bewildered cold hundreds of people are standing around the circus tent, which is put up in the main square, to see � as the outcome of their wait � the chief attraction, the stuffed carcass of a real whale.
The people are coming from everywhere.
From the neighbouring settlings, from different holes of the Plain, even from quite far away parts of the country.
They are following this clumsy monster as a dumb, faceless, rag-wearing crowd.
This strange state of affairs � the appearance of the foreigners, the extreme frost � disturbs the order of the small town.
The human connections are overturning, the ambitious personages of the story feel they can take advantage of this situation, while the people who are condemned anyway to passivity fall into an even deeper uncertainty.
The tension growing to the unbearable is brought to explosion by the figure of the Prince, who is pretending facelessness and is lying low behind the whale. Even his mere appearance is enough to break loose the destroying emotions.
The apocalypse that sweeps away everything spares nothing. I does not spare the outsiders wrapped up in scientificness, does not spare the teenage enthusiasts, the people who have philistine fears for ease, the family � nothing that the European culture preserved as from of attitude in the last centuries.
The burst of instinctive rage helps the victory of the petty lust for power, that finally holds the rage down again, as the terrible end of an awful story, justifying the sarcastic game of nature � the whale and the cold without snow, which are unimaginable for Hungarian people.

Made from 1996 to 2000.


Béla Tarr Director
Béla Tarr, László Krasznahorkai Screenplay
Erwin Lanzensberger, Miklós Gurbán, Emil Novák, Patrick de Ranter, Jörg Widmer, Gábor Medvigy, Rob Tregenza Director of photography
Ágnes Hranitzky Editor
Mihály Víg Music
György Kovács Sound
János Breckl Costumes
Franz Goëss, Miklós Szita, Paul Saadoun, Joachim Von Vietinghoff Producer
13 Production / FR, Goëss Film (Budapest), Von Vietinghoff Filmproduktion / DE Production company
János Derzsi, Tamás Wichmann, Hanna Schygulla, Peter Fitz, Lars Rudolph, Ferenc Kállai, Djoko Rosić Cast


Brussels L’Age d’Or - 2000 Prix Cinédécouvertes
Sofia International Film Festival - 2001 FIPRESCI Prize
Berlin International Film Festival - Forum of New Cinema - 2001 Berliner Zeitung’s Reader’s Prize to the Best Film of Forum
Budapest Hungarian Film Week - 2001 Main Prize,
Sassari Sardinia Film Festival - 2017 Career Award


Edinburgh International Film Festival - 2000
Warsaw International Film Festival - 2001
Sodankylä Midnight Sun Film Festival - 2001
Freistadt "Der Neue Heimatfilm" Festival - 2001
Cannes Quinzaine des Réalisateurs - 2000
Săo Paulo International Film Festival - 2001
San Francisco International Film Festival - 2001
Wroclaw New Horizons IFF - 2004
Brisbane International Film Festival - 2001
Seville Film Festival - 2005
Cork Film Festival - 2000
Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival - 2004
Barcelona POSIBLE - 2002
Istanbul International Film Festival - 2001
Perugia International Film Festival - 2002
Vancouver International Film Festival - 2000
Sarajevo Film Festival - 2006
Cluj-Napoca Transilvania - 2002
Auckland-Wellington New Zealand IFF - 2001
Prague FEBIOFEST - 2007
Huesca Film Festival - 2005
Chicago International Film Festival - 2000
Bratislava International Film Festival - 2001
Wiesbaden GoEast Film Festival - 2001 (in competition)
Split Film Festival - 2000
Sitges International Film Festival - 2004
Setúbal FESTROIA  International Film Festival - 2004
Thessaloniki International Film Festival - 2002
Innsbruck International Film Festival - 2001
Jerusalem International Film Festival - 2001
Auckland International Film Festival - 2001
Jeonju International Film Festival - 2001
Ljubljana International Film Festival - 2001
Mumbai International Film Festival - 2000
Rotterdam International Film Festival - 2001
Toronto International Film Festival - 2000
Cluj-Napoca Cinema Paradiso Film Festival - 2003
Bergamo Film Meeting - 2002

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