Will Heaven Fall Upon Us? Béla Tarr Retrospective

Will Heaven Fall Upon Us? Béla Tarr Retrospective

Jul 10, 2024 | News

The undisputed master of European “slow cinema”, and one of the greatest filmmakers of the 21st century. Join us this August as we celebrate the work of renowned Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr with this retrospective of his work, including brand new 4K restorations of Werckmeister Harmonies and Damnation, and – of course – a one-off screening of Tarr’s towering 7-hour masterpiece Sátántangó.

Tarr is known for creating dystopian fables about the fall of Communism. However, his political critiques of a corrupt regime transcend a specific historical context. For modern viewers, his films take on a metaphysical quality, commenting on the inevitable uncertainty of all systems—biological, psychological, and social.

Full listings for the season are detailed below.

WERCKMEISTER HARMONIES
Sun 11 Aug 3pm / Mon 12 Aug 6pm / Tue 13 Aug 8.30pm
In a small Hungarian town, the harsh winter is disrupted by the arrival of a mysterious circus, featuring an enormous stuffed whale and a tantalising attraction known as The Prince. As the festivities stir the locals into a frenzy, a solitary newspaper delivery man witnesses the ensuing chaos. Adapted from László Krasznahorkai’s novel ‘The Melancholy of Resistance’, Tarr crafts an apocalyptically transcendent portrait of disorder and governmental control, conveyed through his signature long tracking shots.
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DAMNATION
Sun 18 Aug 1.30pm / Tue 20 Aug 8.30pm
A listless loner falls in love with a beautiful cabaret singer at his local bar. They soon embark on a relationship, but when she suddenly ends the affair, he tries to win her back from her debt-ridden husband. A brooding meditation on inner conflict and existential angst, filmed in stunning black and white.
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SÁTÁNTANGÓ
Sun 25 Aug 10am
Residents of a small Hungarian village grapple with the aftermath of Communism’s collapse. With the local factory closed, villagers await a promised cash payout following the shutdown. Amidst this, a villager previously believed to be dead returns and convinces the locals to form a commune. Voted one of the 100 greatest films of all time in the recent BFI Sight & Sound poll, Tarr’s legendary seven-and-a-half-hour masterpiece is a mesmerising exploration of domestic and social decay in post-Communist Europe.
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THE MAN FROM LONDON
Mon 26 Aug 4pm / Tue 27 Aug 8.30pm
During his night shift as a railway switchman near the docks, a man witnesses a crime and finds a briefcase full of money. As he and his family start to enjoy a better life, others begin to look for the missing case. Based on a novel by Georges Simenon and starring Tilda Swinton, this gripping crime-noir explores desire, the longing for freedom, and dreams of happiness that may never come true.
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THE TURIN HORSE
Sun 1 Sept 3pm / Tue 3 Sept 8.30pm
In the desolate Hungarian countryside, a frail farmer and his daughter struggle to eke out a living amidst harsh conditions. Their lives take a profound turn when their horse unexpectedly refuses to work. Inspired by an anecdote involving German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, Tarr creates an melancholic parable and thought-provoking exploration of the universe’s unsettling indifference toward humanity. Winner of the Silver Bear (Jury Grand Prize) at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival.
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Plan your visit

Our beautiful art deco inspired auditorium can be found just off East Oxford's Cowley Road. We are open 7 days a week. We open the cinema and box office 30 minutes before the scheduled start time of each film, and the Box Office then closes 10 minutes after the film starts. We don’t show adverts, just a couple of trailers, so don't be late as the film itself starts very close to the advertised time!