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Werckmeister Harmonies Review

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★★★★

Compared to the 435-minute Satantango, which was also based on a novel by Laszlo Krasznahorkai, Bela Tarr's adaptation of The Melancholy Of Resistance is a breeze.

Taking its title from a 17th century German composer who specialised in the structure and harmony of music, it's a brooding treatise on the abuse of beauty and power, the malleability of the masses and the helplessness of the individual swept away by a tide of great events.

But while this is anything but an easy watch, it's also a film packed with memorable images - outsider Lars Rudolph choreographing some barroom drunkards in a planetary orbit dance, the arrival in a town on the cusp of civil unrest of a charismatic 'prince' and a giant stuffed whale, the pitiless assault on the hospital by an uncontrollable mob. For once, understanding is less important than experiencing.

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