Werckmeister Harmonies (Widescreen) product details page

Werckmeister Harmonies (Widescreen)

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Werckmeister Harmonies is a work of staggering depth and technical accomplishment. Shot in stark black-and-white and consisting of only 39 shots (the film is 145 minutes long), Tarr's camera swoops and lingers, revealing layer upon layer of nuances and subtleties. In one ten-minute shot, which rivals anything in Orson Welles oeuvre, the camera swirls around a square full of hung-over rioters as Jancos, walking off and then reappearing in the frame, makes his way to the trailer that houses the whale. In terms of camera movement, choreography, and cinematography, this shot, one among dozens, is a feat of sheer cinematic bravado. The film's photography seems to uncover ever-deeper shades of black, creating a haunting atmosphere that deftly informs Tarr's mysterious, transcendent narrative. Wide-eyed in wonder or brows furrowed in fear, Lars Rudolph as Jancos -- who looks like a fusion of Klaus Kinski and Steve Zahn -- plays the holy fool to perfection. Returning to the silver screen after a nine-year absence, Hanna Schygulla -- perhaps best known for her role in The Marriage of Maria Braun as a Teutonic temptress -- here brilliantly morphs into a Machiavellian Magyar matron. Beautiful, slow, and absorbing, Werckmeister Harmonies is a masterpiece by one of world cinema's greatest directors. Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide