Presentation Title

Nihilism in the Films of Bela Tarr

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

School

School of Arts and Humanities

Discipline

Film Studies

Mentor

Irina Leimbacher

Date & Time

April 9th at 9 AM - 10 AM

Location

David F. Putnam Science Center, Room 154

Abstract

This paper analyzes the role of nihilism in the films of Bela Tarr. By examining the use of slow cinema techniques and the near-constant influence of Friedrich Nietzsche, I argue that Tarr's films present a nihilistic world view. Nietzsche’s philosophies, specifically those involving the absence of both God and human meaning, are thematically crucial to Tarr’s films. Such meaninglessness is illustrated through long takes, minimal camera movement, and affectless characters. These are all qualities that are closely associated with slow cinema. The paper is particularly focused on Tarr's later films, specifically Satantango, Werckmeister Harmonies, and The Turin Horse. I approach all three films through the lens of slow cinema, analyzing the aforementioned cinematic qualities and how they relate to both Nietzsche and nihilism. Extensive research of Nietzsche's writing and the life of Bela Tarr, supplemented by several works of film scholarship, is utilized in order to support my argument.

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Apr 9th, 9:00 AM

Nihilism in the Films of Bela Tarr

David F. Putnam Science Center, Room 154

This paper analyzes the role of nihilism in the films of Bela Tarr. By examining the use of slow cinema techniques and the near-constant influence of Friedrich Nietzsche, I argue that Tarr's films present a nihilistic world view. Nietzsche’s philosophies, specifically those involving the absence of both God and human meaning, are thematically crucial to Tarr’s films. Such meaninglessness is illustrated through long takes, minimal camera movement, and affectless characters. These are all qualities that are closely associated with slow cinema. The paper is particularly focused on Tarr's later films, specifically Satantango, Werckmeister Harmonies, and The Turin Horse. I approach all three films through the lens of slow cinema, analyzing the aforementioned cinematic qualities and how they relate to both Nietzsche and nihilism. Extensive research of Nietzsche's writing and the life of Bela Tarr, supplemented by several works of film scholarship, is utilized in order to support my argument.