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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Turin Horse [Blu-ray]


(Béla Tarr, Ágnes Hranitzky, 2011)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: TT Filmműhely / Cinema Guild

Video: Cinema Guild / Artificial Eye



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:35:26.900 / 2:34:25.041

Disc Size: 39,098,226,049 bytes / 45,545,900,768 bytes

Feature Size: 28,248,053,760 bytes / 44,519,393,280 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.49 Mbps / 34.99 Mbps

Chapters: 14 / 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case (both)

Release date: July 17th, 2012 / September 10th, 2012



Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio Hungarian 1577 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1577 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1613 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1613 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

LPCM Audio Hungarian 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit


Subtitles (both):

English (SDH), none



Hotel Magnezit (1978, 10 minutes), a short film by Bela Tarr
Audio Commentary by film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum
Press Conference with Bela Tarr, co-director Ăgnes Hranitzky; actors Mihály Kormos, Erika BĂk, and János Derzsi; director of photography Fred Kelemen; composer Mihály Vig; and co-producer Gábor TĂni from the 2011 Berlin Film Festival (45 minutes)
BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVE: Regis Dialogue with Bela Tarr at the Walker Art Center (2007, 81 minutes)
Theatrical Trailer
Booklet featuring an essay by film critic J. Hoberman


Hotel Magnezit (1978, 11:49 in 576i), a short film by Bela Tarr



Cinema Guild - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP
Artificial Eye - Region B - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


Description: Raw, compelling and emotionally devastating, Béla Tarr s final film is a daringly original and searingly vivid work of artistically precise, philosophically rigorous filmmaking that has left audiences the world over gasping for breath.

Taking its cue from Nietzsche s famous confrontation on Via Carlo Alberto, The Turin Horse depicts the aftermath of this seemingly innocuous but destructively profound encounter. Following a man and his daughter in their daily routine, a bizarre series of disturbing events slowly begin to strip life of its very essence resulting in a terrifying, all-consuming finale...


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 loses consciousness and his mind. Somewhere in the countryside, the driver of the cab lives with his daughter and the horse. Outside, a windstorm rages. Immaculately photographed in Tarr s renowned long takes, The Turin Horse is the final statement from a master filmmaker.



The Film:

Never a prolific force, the Hungarian director Béla Tarr has declared that ‘The Turin Horse’ will be his last film. He has also suggested that the reason for hanging up his boots is apparent in the film – which makes ‘The Turin Horse’ even more of a glorious, terrifying mystery. It’s an epic portrait of drudging peasantry, set, biblically, over six days – and it is a film that drills into the core of your soul.

It begins with a prologue explaining how the philosopher Nietzsche witnessed a horse being beaten in Turin in 1889, immediately before his breakdown: ‘Of the horse, we know nothing,’ says the intro pointedly. Is this the story of that horse? Or is it simply a story of anonymous sufferers in a godless world living the sort of miserable, uncomprehending life that may have sent Nietzsche into a spin in the first place? We spend the rest of the film in the company of a grizzled, white-haired father (János Derzsi) and his equally taciturn adult daughter (Erika Bók), who live alone in wild countryside with only a tired horse for company. As the days go on, the howling wind grows louder, several interlopers ominously disrupt their routine and the light literally – and, we assume, metaphorically – begins to go out.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Writer/director Béla Tarr teams with screenwriter Lazlo Krasznahorkai to explore what may have happened to the horse that philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche defended during the onset of an intense mental breakdown in this earnest drama. When the horse that helped an elderly farmer earn his livelihood suddenly refuses to work, the farmer and his daughter face starvation and poverty.

Excerpt from MRQElocated HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The 2.5 hour The Turin Horse has been transferred to a dual-layered Blu-ray thanks to Cinema Guild.  The image quality is outstanding with some of the most deft contrast I've seen in 1080P. Entire scenes become like art and I took hundreds of captures having trouble deciding on a handful for the review.  There are impressively rich black levels and textures seem almost tactile on my HD screen. This Blu-ray provides a magnificent, manipulation-free presentation with depth, substance - and not a hint of noise. I was blown-away...

I may not have got all capture matches exactly. The AE transfer is more robust with a higher feature file size and bitrate. It looks minutely brighter. Contrast may be marginally more layered, there is a modicum more grain but overall the differences will be negligible to most viewers. This, also 1.66:1, UK disc also looks awesome and for those who project and are discriminating to the max and demand the superior transfer - it is the Artificial Eye although very hard to identify via our still captures.




Cinema Guild - Region FREE - Blu-ray (BOTH offer optional English subtitles)


Cinema Guild - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP
Artificial Eye - Region B - Blu-ray - BOTTOM
Cinema Guild - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP
Artificial Eye - Region B - Blu-ray - BOTTOM
Cinema Guild - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP
Artificial Eye - Region B - Blu-ray - BOTTOM
Cinema Guild - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP
Artificial Eye - Region B - Blu-ray - BOTTOM
Cinema Guild - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP
Artificial Eye - Region B - Blu-ray - BOTTOM
Cinema Guild - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP
Artificial Eye - Region B - Blu-ray - BOTTOM
Cinema Guild - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP
Artificial Eye - Region B - Blu-ray - BOTTOM
Cinema Guild - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP
Artificial Eye - Region B - Blu-ray - BOTTOM
Cinema Guild - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP
Artificial Eye - Region B - Blu-ray - BOTTOM
Cinema Guild - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP
Artificial Eye - Region B - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


Audio :

We get a faithful DTS-HD Master stereo track at 1613 kbps. The lossless audio never overtakes the film's beautiful visuals but supports with clean, unfettered sound - minimally utilized in the production. It is clean and flawless with, frequent Tarr collaborator, Mihály Vig's score almost unnoticeable running sporadically beside the film - exactly as intended. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

AE's linear PCM track has very little, to no discernable difference from the similarly lossless (DTS-HD) Cinema Guild transfer. Both appear flawless although the UK may project the higher end a tad more discreetly - hard to say definitely. It also offers optional English subtitles but is region 'B'-locked. 


Extras :

Cinema Guild didn't scrimp on the extras including an audio commentary by film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum as he discusses some of Tarr's other works and less-noticeable details during The Turin Horse. There are some gaps but fans of the director will relish the dissertation. Hotel Magnezit a interesting 10-minute, 1978, short film by Bela Tarr and there is also a 45-minute Press Conference with Tarr, co-director Ăgnes Hranitzky, some ofn the cast and crew from the 2011 Berlin Film Festival, Exclkusive to the Blu-ray offers Regis Dialogue with Bela Tarr at the Walker Art Center - it has Howard Feinstein interviewing Tarr in 2007 for a satisfying 81 minutes. It can really give many the opportunity to know the man and his work/art philosophy. There is also a theatrical trailer and a leaflet in the package featuring an essay by film critic J. Hoberman.

Only extra on the UK disc is the 1978 short film by Tarr; Hotel Magnezit - running11:49 in 576i.

Cinema Guild - Region FREE - Blu-ray



I was a bit intimidated and held-back from watching The Turin Horse for a few of weeks after the Blu-ray package arrived. I'm glad I waited until I was more settled and am prepared now to state this as one of the best releases of the year to-date. The Cinema Guild Blu-ray offers a brilliant a/v presentation of total masterpiece. Those familiar with Tarr's work will be in cinematic ecstasy and those uninitiated with never forget their viewing. Our strongest recommendation!

I've come to expect nothing less from Artificial Eye - an easily choice for release by them and they have done the a/v proud - reaching the zenith of quality. Those keen on the CG supplements have the option but those in region 'B' less-concerned with extras can go for the Artificial Eye! A must-own in any case.  

Gary Tooze

August 17th, 2012

September 2nd, 2012



About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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