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Reading The Turin Horse with Beckett

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2020, 33(3), pp.277-304
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama
  • Received : November 15, 2020
  • Accepted : December 14, 2020
  • Published : December 31, 2020

Hyungseob Lee 1

1한양대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper reads the Hungarian master filmmaker Béla Tarr’s penultimate film The Turin Horse (2011) from the Beckettian perspective. Using Samuel Beckett’s two seminal plays (Waiting for Godot and Endgame) as critical reference points, the paper discusses the film’s major philosophical and aesthetic issues in conjunction with its uniquely realized narrative structure and heterogeneous temporalities. More specifically, I argue that Hamm’s single line from Endgame – “The end is in the beginning and yet you go on” – offers the ideational nexus between Tarr’s film and Beckett’s two seminal plays. The Turin Horse begins with the narration of Nietzsche’s famous Turin episode, and the actual film amounts to showing that humanity has no further story to tell after Nietzsche’s fateful encounter with the horse. The end of the film has already been told at the beginning. The minimal narrative of the film is distended by cinematic excess. The repetitive, enclosed narrative structure is punctured twice. On both occasions, however, the intrusive presence of outside forces does not affect the course of the narrative by any means. The two visits (one from a neighbor and the other by a band of gypsies) function as cinematic excess. In the end, The Turin Horse is seen as a cinematic realization or approximation of Beckett’s attempt to dramatize the “nothing” that always verges on being transmuted into something.

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