Werckmeister harmóniák

I went to work and talked about movies.  I stopped for a hamburger on the way home, and then I sat down to watch “Werckmeister Harmonies,” the strange movie set in Hungary.  It starts off with the character János demonstrating an eclipse of the sun through a dance.  A circus comes into town with a huge whale carcass and a mysterious person known as The Prince, as opposed to Prince.  The whale seems symbolic of a dead and decaying social system, and I tend not to like big, obvious, heavy-handed symbolism in movies.  János’ uncle György is a composer who sees imperfection in the musical scale as defined by Andreas Werckmeister, and he wants to make changes.  He is pursuing a goal that can’t be reached.  Is that what was going on in Hungary?  Anyway, there is a riot, destruction of a hospital, and an ominous helicopter.  János seemed to be the only person who paid to see the whale.  The entire movie is made up of 39 shots, some of which feel like they last an eternity, especially the ones of the crowd in the street, and the helicopter circling around.  I could have told János not to run on the railroad tracks in broad daylight.  He should have hidden in the trees or something.  The sight of János at the end brought back the memory of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”  Critics gave “Werckmeister Harmonies” a lot of praise.  Roger Ebert described it as mesmerizing.  There is something to be said about entertainment value, and I wished this movie had more of it.  The bit about the eclipse is amusing, but I felt that it went on too long like a lot of this movie.  This is a film that critics like and almost everyone else finds boring.  I thought it had strong qualities, but I wouldn’t recommend it to most people.  Béla Tarr is 61 years old now.  It seems that he could still do more than share his pessimistic views with the world.  If I compare this movie to “The Turin Horse,” I think that perhaps I like “The Turin Horse” a bit more.  Some of the people who died on September 29 include Carson McCullers (1967), Edward Everett Horton (1970), Charles Addams (1988), Roy Lichtenstein (1997), Lois Maxwell (2007), and Tony Curtis (2010).  Today is a birthday for Ian McShane (74) and Jerry Lee Lewis (81).

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