Hailed as the last film by Hungarian master Béla Tarr, Hungarian/Swiss/German/French co-production The Turin Horse will start shooting in November. The film will star Czech actor Miroslav Krobot and Hungarian actress Erika Bók (who both appeared in The Man from London), alongside Germany's Volker Spengler (Fassbinder's In a Year of 13 Moons).by Fabien Lemercier
Co-written by the director and his usual collaborator Laszlo Krasznahorkai, the film is freely inspired by an episode that marked the end of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s career. On January 3,1889, on the piazza Alberto in Turin, a weeping Nietzsche flung his arms around an exhausted and ill-treated carriage horse, then lost consciousness.
After this event – which forms the prologue to Tarr’s film – the philosopher never wrote again and descended into madness and silence. From this starting point, The Turin Horse goes on to explore the lives of the coachman (Krobot), his daughter (Bók) and the horse in an atmosphere of poverty heralding the end of the world.
Having made eight features since 1979, Tarr has established himself as one of the most exceptional and challenging directors of his era, working in black and white, playing with real time and peppering his films with metaphysical questions.
His recent works – which have influenced directors such as Gus van Sant – include Damnation (1988), Satan's Tango (1994), Werckmeister Harmonies (2004) and The Man from London.
A majority Hungarian production by T.T.Filmmuhely, The Turin Horse is co-produced with 15% investments by Switzerland’s Vega Film Production (Ruth Waldburger, who produced Tarr’s Satan's Tango), Germany’s Zero Fiction Film (Martin Hagemann) and newly-founded French company Movie Partners In Motion Film (Marie-Pierre Macia and Juliette Lepoutre, who co-produced Romanian film Hooked).
The feature has so far received €240,000 in backing from the Eurimages fund and €100,000 from the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg. The 35-day shoot will take place in Hungary in November and December and the film will be ready for release in April 2009.
International sales are still under negotiation, in particular with Dutch company Fortissimo.