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The Turin Horse is two and a half hours of gorgeously, lovingly recorded melancholy. Basically, the horse is driven to the countryside, where its owner, a dour widower, lives with his dour daughter in a one-room shack. They eat one potato a day, don’t say much, and never crack a smile. Not once. There’s a perpetual windstorm and a repetitive cello score by Mihály Vig. (Spoiler alert—it’s dour!) Their horse stops eating, their well goes dry, and the wind blows. It’s almost a caricature of an Eastern European art-house film. But the plot is not the point. The point is Tarr’s black-and-white cinematography, which records this stark, blunt misery in a miraculous chiaroscuro. Tarr shows us firelight flickering against wood grain, the deep creases in the daughter’s face, each wiry hair in the widower’s beard, dark leaves blowing past the windowpane. Nothing happens, but the meticulous detail of the filmmaking gives all that nothingness a crushing there-ness. recommended

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