CINEMASS- Werckmeister Harmonies

Jul 22, 2018

 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.- Jonathan Crow

“I despise stories, as they mislead people into believing that something has happened. In fact, nothing really happens as we flee from one condition to another… All that remains is time. This is probably the only thing that’s still genuine — time itself; the years, days, hours, minutes and seconds.”-Bela Tarr
 
“Bela Tarr’s “Werckmeister Harmonies” (2000) is maddening if you are not in sympathy with it, mesmerizing if you are. If you have not walked out after 20 or 30 minutes, you will thereafter not be able to move from your seat. “Dreamlike,” Jim Jarmusch calls it. Nightmarish as well; doom-laded, filled with silence and sadness, with the crawly feeling that evil is penetrating its somber little town.”-Roger Ebert 
 
I’m (tim here) launching a ridiculous and  consistently intermittent new series, CineMass, starting July 22nd at 8AM. Kicking it off will be the Southern premiere of Bela Tarr’s much talked about Werckmeister Harmonies from 2000. Shout out to the Hungarian Film Fund and the Metrograph for arranging the incredibly rare opportunity to screen this 35MM print.
 
During CineMass expect titles from the slow-cinema genre (for reasons I won’t bore you with this term isn’t a favorite, I like to think of it more as participatory cinema). No concessions  will be sold during these early morning screenings and no previews will be played. Ideally, you will roll out of bed thirty minutes before showtime, dive right in and maybe your recently awoke mind, free from the irritating distractions of a day, will fall into “sympathy with it”.
 
Tickets are $10 (after all we are shipping the 12 reel 35mm print back to Hungary. Moviepass,anyone?) If this sounds at all of interest be sure to read the rest of Roger Ebert’s review.