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On the eve of philosophy and beyond it the logic of sense lost itself in calculations without end, only to find itself in this infinite time of poetry, dismembered...
The Bare Life of the Turin Horse

From Nietzsche’s silence to the bare life of the body: Bela Tarr’s final opus is a film of devastating nakedness.
— By Jose-Luis Moctezuma | November 3, 2011



The pre-cinematic origin of Bela Tarr’s The Turin Horse (2011) holds residence at an unlikely (and resistant) site of historiography: the mental breakdown of Friedrich Nietzsche. Whether the facts of Nietzsche’s breakdown in Turin are as true as one anecdotal legend claims, the narrative details are compelling enough to stand forth as fiction: “In Turin, on January 3rd, 1889, Friedrich Nietzsche steps out of the door of number six, Via Carlo Alberto, perhaps to take a stroll, perhaps to go by the post office to collect his mail.” The mundaneness of the incidentals, in which Nietzsche assumes the role of an ordinary man who ponders two equally banal choices (to take a leisure walk, or to pick up the mail? or why not both?), augments the pull of the inevitable catastrophe. “Not far from him, or indeed very far removed from him, a cabman is having trouble with his stubborn horse.” The cabman begins to whip the horse viciously because it refuses to budge and convey its load, and Nietzsche, overwhelmed by the sudden violence and pathos of the event, rushes to the horse’s aid, throws himself on its neck, and prevents the cabman from flogging it any further. Nietzsche, perhaps feeling underneath his arms and face the rippling skin and pulsing heart of the animal, breaks down in convulsive tears and, as a crowd collects around him, submerging him further beneath the heat of an encounter which has escalated beyond the point of comprehension, he collapses unconscious. The rest, as they say, is history: carried back to his apartment, the philosopher wakes up, but he can no longer function as he had; that is, he can no longer make autonomous decisions about taking either leisure strolls or visits to the post office, or anything else for that matter. He lives out the rest of his years in a state of profound philosophical silence, “only broken on occasion by a lengthy and unpunctuated scream.”

The Bare Life of the Turin Horse

From Nietzsche’s silence to the bare life of the body: Bela Tarr’s final opus is a film of devastating nakedness.

— By | November 3, 2011

The pre-cinematic origin of Bela Tarr’s The Turin Horse (2011) holds residence at an unlikely (and resistant) site of historiography: the mental breakdown of Friedrich Nietzsche. Whether the facts of Nietzsche’s breakdown in Turin are as true as one anecdotal legend claims, the narrative details are compelling enough to stand forth as fiction: “In Turin, on January 3rd, 1889, Friedrich Nietzsche steps out of the door of number six, Via Carlo Alberto, perhaps to take a stroll, perhaps to go by the post office to collect his mail.” The mundaneness of the incidentals, in which Nietzsche assumes the role of an ordinary man who ponders two equally banal choices (to take a leisure walk, or to pick up the mail? or why not both?), augments the pull of the inevitable catastrophe. “Not far from him, or indeed very far removed from him, a cabman is having trouble with his stubborn horse.” The cabman begins to whip the horse viciously because it refuses to budge and convey its load, and Nietzsche, overwhelmed by the sudden violence and pathos of the event, rushes to the horse’s aid, throws himself on its neck, and prevents the cabman from flogging it any further. Nietzsche, perhaps feeling underneath his arms and face the rippling skin and pulsing heart of the animal, breaks down in convulsive tears and, as a crowd collects around him, submerging him further beneath the heat of an encounter which has escalated beyond the point of comprehension, he collapses unconscious. The rest, as they say, is history: carried back to his apartment, the philosopher wakes up, but he can no longer function as he had; that is, he can no longer make autonomous decisions about taking either leisure strolls or visits to the post office, or anything else for that matter. He lives out the rest of his years in a state of profound philosophical silence, “only broken on occasion by a lengthy and unpunctuated scream.”



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  1. lawgiverz posted this