Werckmeister Harmonies (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes

Werckmeister Harmonies (2001)



Critic Consensus: Mesmerizingly lovely and thematically thought-provoking, Werckmeister Harmonies adds another indelible achievement to Bela Tarr's fascinating filmography.

Werckmeister Harmonies Photos

Movie Info

Bela Tarr follows up on his seven-hour epic Satantango, considered by some critics as one of the finest films of the 1990s, with this elegant, haunting work about the cycles of violence that have dogged Eastern European history. Jancos (Lars Rudolph) is a wide-eyed innocent who works as an occasional postal worker and as a caretaker for Mr. Ezster (Peter Fitz). An outsider and a visionary, he marvels at the miracles of creation, from the planets rotating in the heavens to the sundry animals on earth. One day, a circus featuring jars full of medical anomalies and a massive dead whale entombed in a corrugated metal trailer visits Jancos' economically depressed village. Another more sinister attraction is a shadowy figure dubbed "The Prince," whose nihilist rants incite the town's disaffected to riot. Not long afterwards, Mrs. Ezster (Hanna Schygulla) cajoles her estranged husband to join a citizen's action group against the circus, threatening to move back into his house if he doesn't play along. Tension in the town builds until, after one of The Prince's hate-filled speeches, throngs of angry men with blunt instruments ransack and brutalize a men's hospital ward. When the dust clears, lives are irrevocably changed. This film was screened at the 2000 Toronto Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi


Lars Rudolph
as János Valuska
Peter Fitz
as György Eszter
Hanna Schygulla
as Tünde Eszter
János Derzsi
as man in broad-cloth coat
Djocko Rossitch
as man in Western boots
Tamas Wichmann
as man in the sailor-cap
Iren Szajki
as Mrs. Harrer
Alfred Jarai
as Lajos Harrer
György Barkó
as Mr. Nabadán
Lajos Dobák
as Mr. Volent
András Fekete
as Mr. Árgyelán
Péter Dobai
as chief constable
László Felugossy
as housepainter
Gyula Pauer
as Mr. Hagelmayer
Barna Mihok
as coachman
Béla Máriáss
as Mr. Mádai
Matyas Drafi
as man in fur-cap
József Ropog
as man beside the man in the fur-cap
Sándor Bese
as The Prince
Tamás Bolba
as voice of János Valuska
Péter Haumann
as Gyorgy Eszter (Voice)
Mariann Moor
as Tunde Eszter (Voice)
Attila Kaszas
as The Prince (Voice)
View All

Critic Reviews for Werckmeister Harmonies

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (16)

As wearying as the film becomes in its long, bleak sequences, its uniquely cinematic and emotion-charged experience makes the effort worthwhile.

May 21, 2014 | Full Review…

Six years after the 7-1/2-hour Satan's Tango, Magyar maverick Bela Tarr makes a stunning feature return with "Werckmeister Harmonies," another hypnotic meditation on popular demagogy and mental manipulation that's a snap at 145 minutes.

October 5, 2007 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Bela Tarr's style seems to be an attempt to regard his characters with great intensity and respect, to observe them without jostling them, to follow unobtrusively as they move through their worlds, which look so ordinary and are so awesome, like ours.

September 14, 2007 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

A chilling, mesmerizing, intense account of ethnic cleansing (in spirit if not in letter) from Hungarian master Bela Tarr.

September 14, 2007

Over two hours and 20 minutes, not much actually happens, and Tarr creates a mood so lulling that even the rare scenes of dialogue can be hard to follow. But Werckmeister's standout moments are searing like few others in film history.

March 11, 2006 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
Top Critic

Weird, wonderful, witty and unsettling.

January 26, 2006 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Werckmeister Harmonies

Bela Tárr reaches the point of formal perfection with this spellbinding allegory about foreign occupation composed of 39 masterful long takes, a thematically thought-provoking film that is more well structured than his previous works and has a wonderful score by Mihály Víg.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Fantastic begining, great ending & interesting thought-provoking concept, but overlong movie with overlong sequences

Arash Xak
Arash Xak

Super Reviewer

You Europeans can pretend to like this shit all you want but you are not fooling me, no sir.

Drew Smith
Drew Smith

Super Reviewer

Werckmeister Harmonies Quotes

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