The Turin Horse 5

This poem goes a long way towards adding insight to the film The Turin Horse (2011)  by Bela Tarr.

A Story Can Change Your Life 

 

On the morning she became a young widow,

my grandmother, startled by a sudden shadow,

looked up from her work to see a hawk turn

her prized rooster into a cloud of feathers.

That same moment, halfway around the world

in a Minnesota mine, her husband died,

buried under a ton of rockfall.

She told me this story sixty years ago.

I don’t know if it’s true but it ought to be.

She was a hard old woman, and though she knelt

on Sundays when the acolyte’s silver bell

announced the moment of Christ’s miracle,

it was the darker mysteries she lived by:

shiver-cry of an owl, black dog by the roadside,

a tapping at the door and nobody there.

The moral of the story was plain enough:

miracles become a burden and require a priest

to explain them. With signs, you only need

to keep your wits about you and place your trust

in a shadow world that lets you know hard luck

and grief are coming your way. And for that

—so the story goes—any day will do.

Peter Everwine

The film begins with an all black screen and a narrator describing an event that occurred in 1889 when in the city of Turin a farmer whipping his horse who refused to move, caught the attention of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who tried to protect the horse from the lash while crying uncontrollably.  The movie states that Nietzsche ended up in a mental Asylum after this incident and never recovered. The movie concerns what happened to the horse, his owner and his daughter.

Part of the power of storytelling is the ability to be god, to control time, space, to envelope an audience with a frame of reference removed from their personal observations. A storyteller creates a rhythm, pacing, timing, a viewpoint that when allowed by the viewer, can experience a relationship with the world that goes beyond plot and character. The Turin Horse by the Hungarian director, Bela Tarr (2011) is riveting in it’s slow pacing and exactitude of experiences. The characters moment to moment daily life struggles are explored in minutia providing an intensity that creeps up on the viewer.

The movie runs for 146 minutes and most of this consists of the day to day life of the daughter and father as they struggle through chores, eating, and sleeping. Yet, it’s riveting. It feels like at any minute another shoe is going to drop, every detail becomes important. This feeling of fate eventually finds purchase as the characters struggle with signs, portents and fear. The Turnin horse becomes a study in “any day” and placing your luck in a shadow world. As the poem by Peter Everwine says,”With signs, you only need to keep your wits about you and place your trust in a shadow world that lets you know hard luck and grief are coming your way. And for that–so the story goes–any day will do.”

Trailer.