New York, NY (December 15, 2011) – The Film Society of Lincoln Center will host a complete Béla Tarr retrospective titled The Last Modernist: The Complete Works of Béla Tarr from February 3-8, 2012. In advance of the U.S. Theatrical Premiere of The Turin Horse on February 10th, the Film Society will present a rare “complete” retrospective of a living filmmaker, stretching from his early cinema verité portraits of proletariat life in Communist-era Hungary to the hypnotic, career-defining masterworks that cemented Tarr’s international reputation.

“Few filmmakers have made as great an impact on world cinema in the past two decades as Béla Tarr,” said Film Society Associate Program Director Scott Foundas. “And yet, despite the enormous praise given to him by critics and filmmakers as varied as Susan Sontag, Jim Karmusch and Gus Van Sant, his films has remained relatively difficult to see, especially on the big screen. After witnessing the incredibly enthusiastic reception Béla received at this year’s New York Film Festival, it felt like the time was right to re-introduce audiences to this singular and remarkable body of work.”

The Film Society of Lincoln Center will also be home to the theatrical premiere of New York Film Festival favorite, The Turin Horse, opening on February 10th at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center and being released by Cinema Guild. Hungary’s official submission for this year’s Academy Awards and awarded the Silver Bear and FIPRESCI Prize at the Berlin Film Festival in 2011, Tarr has announced that this will be his final film.

On January 3, 1889 in Turin, Italy, Friedrich Nietzsche steps out of the doorway of number six, Via Carlo Albert. Not far from him, a cab driver is having trouble with a stubborn horse. The horse refuses to move, whereupon the driver loses his patience and takes his whip to it. Nietzsche puts an end to the brutal scene, throwing his arms around the horse’s neck, sobbing. After this, he lies motionless and silent for two days on a divan until he mutters the obligatory last words, and lives for another ten years, silent and demented, cared for by his mother and sisters. Somewhere in the countryside, the cab driver lives with his daughter and the overworked horse. Outside, a windstorm rages. The horse refuses to move, and the man and his daughter struggle through their daily schedule. Food and water grow scarce. Beggars and gypsies come to their door. The horse stops eating. Slowly, the apocalypse approaches.

Immaculately photographed in Tarr’s renowned long takes, The Turin Horse is the final statement from a master filmmaker. Director, Béla Tarr; Co-Director, Agnes Hranitzky; Screenplay by Béla Tarr and Laszlo Krasznahorkai; Director of Photography, Fred Kelemen; Film Editing, Agnes Hranitzky; Original Music by Mihaly Vig; Producer, Gabor Teni; Executive Producers, Elizabeth Redleaf and Christine K. Walker; Co-producers, Martin Hagemann, Juliette Lepoutre, Marie-Pierre Macia, and Ruth Waldburger

Béla Tarr was born in 1955, and grew up in Budapest, Hungary. He began making amateur documentaries at the age of 16 and shot his 1977 feature debut Family Nest at the age of 22, made with non-professional actors in a stark, realist style. His work made a dramatic shift with his 1982 video adaptation of Macbeth which is comprised of only two shots. In subsequent films, Tarr developed a durational aesthetic revolving around extended shot lengths, most famously in 1994’s Sátántangó, a film heavily influential in both the film and art worlds, and of which Susan Sontag said “I’d be glad to see it every year for the rest of my life.” Across the entire body of his work, Tarr has established himself as one of the defining filmmakers and greatest innovators in contemporary cinema.


Almanac of Fall, Béla Tarr, 1984, Hungary, 35mm; 119m
Four apartment-dwellers scheme against a rich elderly woman and each other, in a key work that bridges Tarr’s early social realism and later stylistic brio.
FEB 7, 8

Damnation/Kárhozat. Béla Tarr, 1988, Hungary, 35mm; 116m
Tarr and Krasznahorkai’s first collaboration is a ravishing film noir about a man’s efforts to steal his estranged lover from the arms of her debt-addled husband. FEB 3, 6

Family Nest/Családi tüzfészek. Béla Tarr, 1979, Hungary, 35mm; 108m
Tarr’s striking debut (made when he was 22) offers a take-no-prisoners snapshot of a seven-member family sharing a tiny apartment during a housing crisis. FEB 3, 6

Béla Tarr, 1982, Hungary, 35mm; 72m
Shot in two takes, Tarr’s entrancing TV adaptation preserves all the ambient tension of Shakespeare’s play, reinventing the space with his newly mobile camera technique.
FEB 4, 8

The Man From London
Béla Tarr, 2007, Hungary/France/Germany, 35mm; 135m
The Georges Simenon thriller about a railman and a suitcase of stolen cash becomes an enveloping, chiaroscuro world of melancholy and mystery. With Tilda Swinton. NYFF 2007.
FEB 7, 8

The Outsider/Szabadgyalog. Béla Tarr, 1981, Hungary, 35mm; 122m
An aimless young musician drifts through a series of jobs—and women—before being called up for military service in Tarr’s gritty second feature. FEB 6, 7

The Prefab People
Béla Tarr, 1982, Hungary, 35mm; 102m
A young married couple in monolithic housing endures the trouble and strife of love’s disintegration, in a searing story that works backward from the climactic break-up.
FEB 3, 6

Satantango/Sátántangó. Béla Tarr, 1994, Hungary/Germany/Switzerland, 35mm; 450m
A landmark of contemporary world cinema, Tarr’s international breakthrough came with this transfixing epic about the arrival of a (false) prophet in a small farming collective. Screened with one 15-minute intermission and one 60-minute dinner break. FEB 4, 5

Werckmeister Harmonies, Béla Tarr, 2000, Hungary, 35mm; 145m
Tarr’s apocalyptic masterpiece unfolds in a Hungarian town teetering at the edge of the abyss with the arrival of a giant stuffed whale. With Hanna Schygulla.
FEB 3, 8


Friday, February 3
1:00 PM  Werckmeister Harmonies (145 min.)
4:00 PM  The Prefab People (102 min.)
6:15 PM  Damnation (116 min.)
8:45 PM  Family Nest (108 min.)

Saturday, February 4
12:00 PM  Macbeth (72 min.)
2:00 PM  Satantango (450 min. + 30 min. intermission + 60 min. dinner break)

Sunday, February 5
2:00 PM  Satantango (450 min. + 30 min. intermission + 60 min. dinner break)

Monday, February 6
1:30 PM  Damnation (116 min.)
6:15 PM  The Outsider (122 min.)
8:45 PM  The Prefab People (102 min.)

Tuesday, February 7
1:00 PM  The Man From London (139 min.)
3:45 PM  The Outsider (122 min.)
6:15 PM  Almanac of Fall (119 min.)

Wednesday, February 8
1:45 PM  Macbeth (72 min.)
3:30 PM  Almanac of Fall (119 min.)
6:00 PM  Werckmeister Harmonies (145 min.)
9:00 PM  The Man From London (135 min.)