Spectacular Attractions Podcast #8

[Werckmeister Harmonies (Bela Tarr, 2000)]

Episode 8 of this series of podcasts is an extended discussion of Bela Tarr’s amazing Werckmeister Harmonies, and it’s intended to introduce key aspects of the film to viewers encountering it for the first time. The original post features a reading list and footnotes, along with images and links to other resources. Hopefully, together these will make the film more digestible, but they by now means finish the job of getting to grips with its mysteries.

There will be two more episodes in this “season 1” of Spectacular Attractions, and then I’ll take a short hiatus to fix the iTunes feed, take stock of what I’ve learned from these trial runs, before coming back with new material and a more professional (or at least practiced) approach. It’s been an interesting process learning how to record and edit these things, and I hope you’ve find them interesting and informative to listen to. Any suggestions for future episodes, or technical tips, would be gratefully received.

DOWNLOAD: Spectacuar Attractions Podcast #8

[Find more Spectacular Attractions podcasts here, or subscribe via iTunes here. Read the original article on Werckmeister Harmonies here.]

4 thoughts on “Spectacular Attractions Podcast #8

  1. Pingback: How to Watch Werckmeister Harmonies « Spectacular Attractions

  2. A great discussion about a beautiful film. I especially like how you mused over whether the construction of a shot’s nature and length has to correlate with its narrative function. Tarr’s long takes certainly challenge our narrow view of a shot’s purpose and instead diffuse us into the sensory world, apt for this film where our lead character is so innocently enchanted by the physical universe.

    I’m still puzzled by the symbolic relationship between the whale and the prince and their impact on Janos and the men. Are the whale and prince both evidence of god’s magnificent and awful stroke? The dead whale is and always was innocuous; the living prince is destructive. The whale (one of the awesome things that god creates in his free time) has less an impact on the men than the prince (a beastly creature). If the whale is proof of god’s magnificence and omnipotence, it should give the men a sense of reassurance and purpose. Janos tries to show them how they are tiny, yet still a part of an awesome interconnectedness in the first scene. He gives them a chance. And yet they listen to a freakish, bitter outsider who espouses that nothing is connected and that nothing is ultimately significant, so destroy. And they do. Maybe this is one of the reason’s of Janos’ madness at the end.

    I know other interpretations of the whale is of decaying capitalism. Would that mean then that Janos is fascinated by capitalism? That doesn’t seem right to me. It is important that the carney ultimately gives up the prince rather than capitalise on him one last time; and still the ravaging ensues. The capitalist beast is all-consuming and can no longer be controlled.

    One last question. Any thoughts on whose journal Janos is reading? As he reads, it seems to be from the Prince’s voice. Which mad man would be keeping a journal through all this?

    thanks again


  3. Pingback: LE ARMONIE DI WERCKMEISTER – Werckmeister Harmoniak : Béla Tarr – Les Harmonies Werckmeister – How to Watch Werckmeister Harmonies | controappuntoblog.org

  4. Pingback: Werckmeister Harmonies | The Metropolis Times

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