In a dilapidated village in 1980s Hungary, life has come to a virtual standstill on a small, collective farm. The autumn rains have started. Having closed down their community, the villagers expect to receive a large cash payment that evening, which they will use to leave. Some want to abscond earlier with more than their fair share of the money, until they hear that the smooth- talking and charismatic Irimias, who disappeared over two years ago and whom they thought had died, is coming back. They are all apprehensive that he will take the money with one of his grandiose schemes to keep the community going.
Based on László Krasznahorkai’s novel The Melancholy of Resistance, the film tells the story of a mysterious circus that arrives in a Hungarian village at a time of great crisis, promising to exhibit the world’s largest whale—and announcing the appearance of a prince with strange powers. Local emotions soon run high and life in this town changes forever.
In Turin on January 3, 1889, Friedrich Nietzsche steps out of the doorway of number six, Via Carlo Albert. Not far from him, the driver of a hansom cab is having trouble with a stubborn horse. Despite all his urging, the horse refuses to move, whereupon the driver loses his patience and whips it. Nietzsche comes up to the throng and puts an end to the brutal scene, throwing his arms around the horse?s neck and sobbing. His landlord takes him home, where he lies motionless and silent for two days on a couch until he mutters his last words.
The film depicts, in close-up, a young couple in crisis, exploring the circumstances that ultimately lead to their break-up. Irén, her husband, and their daughter Krisztike, are squeezed into a suburban room-and-kitchen flat, which they have to share with four other family members as a result of the housing shortages faced by many Eastern European countries under communism. In this impossibly small space, even the tiniest problems result in scathing quarrels and the outcome for the family is inevitably bleak.
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