Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Best Opening Scene of 2001?

Robert here. As Nathaniel looks back at 2001, I feel myself wanting to throw in some praise for the best opening scene of the year.

An eclipse is coming and the drunks at the town bar enlist the help of village idiot Valuska to explain it to them. You see, Valuska understands things. And those things that he doesn't understand he finds fascinating and magical. In the world of director Béla Tarr, the most spiritual inquisitive man in the area is quite naturally relegated to village idiot status by those around him.

Werckmeister Harmonies is a fantastic movie and if you find the opening to be fascinating and magical, then you should absolutely seek out the rest of the film. Note the number of shots in this scene, which number a whopping two. And try not to note the bad dubbing, which unfortunately is from the original version (Tarr cast actors for look not language and thus had to dub over them).


NicksFlickPicks said...

Well played, Robert! I can't get enough of what a phenomenal opening Werckmeister has.

Robert said...

Thanks. This film is my pick for best of the decade... by a pretty large margin in fact. And it sucks you in right from this scene. Personally I think it's the music by Mihaly Vig that has the biggest impact on me..

Jason Adams said...

Oh yes! I love this too. I posted about this scene myself over at MNPP back in August, which was when I first saw the film. (There's a link in my post to download the music in this scene as well.) So so so beautiful and haunting.

Janice said...

I had never heard of this film before tonight - and I was astonished by how quickly it held me spellbound (yes, despite the bad dubbing). I was going to ask who did the music, but you've already mentioned.

I'm going to see if I can add this from Netflix. What else has this director done?

Robert said...

Bela Tarr did several movies through the 70's and 80's some better than others but didn't blossom stylistically until Damnation in 1988.

Then in 94 he made Satantango, a 7.5 hour epic and something of an underground sensation (I highly recommend it, but you've gotta be up for it cause its an endurance test).

After Werckmeister Harmonies he did The Man From London in 2007 though it's been poorly distributed here in the US.

He's working recently on a new film The Turin Horse to be released in Europe next year, but who knows when we'll see it in the states.