Order of the Day

A brilliant Hungarian film argues that chaos isn't all it's cracked up to be

This theory seems dubious once it leaves the realm of abstract aesthetics for that of political reality--which may explain why Tarr has embedded his exploration in a framework that's full of indecipherable elements. In any case, Werckmeister Harmonies is more a work of spiritual adventure than philosophical analysis: It uses a set of conspicuously modest raw materials--struggling people in an awful environment and a troubled epoch--to lift our minds and souls beyond the encumbering confines of ordinary films. In other words, Tarr is one of the great ones, and Werckmeister Harmonies merits the biggest audience that our perilously imperfect distribution systems can possibly give it.

 

A version of this article originally appeared in the Canadian film journal Cinema Scope.

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