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Animal WorldsFilm, Philosophy and Time$
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Laura McMahon

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474446389

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474446389.001.0001

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The Turin Horse: Animal Labour and Lines of Flight

The Turin Horse: Animal Labour and Lines of Flight

(p.95) Chapter 3 The Turin Horse: Animal Labour and Lines of Flight
Animal Worlds

Laura McMahon

Edinburgh University Press

Tarr and Hranitzky’s The Turin Horse opens with a voiceover recounting Nietzsche’s apocryphal encounter with animal suffering – a horse being beaten in the streets of Turin on 3 January 1889. The film approaches this history obliquely, through the fictional story of another horse – a horse kept by a man, Ohlsdorfer, and his daughter, in a desolate, inhospitable part of Hungary, in an unidentified time. As the horse increasingly resists eating or moving, the film traces human lives of routine pitted against a nonhuman life refusing to submit to routine any longer. While critical commentary on the film has tended to emphasise an existentialist, Beckettian focus on the inescapability of death and an apocalyptic ‘end time’, this chapter reads The Turin Horse as a film about labour, and about animal labour in particular. Alongside the work of Deleuze, it draws on Jacques Rancière’s discussions of duration in Tarr’s work, while engaging critically with Rancière’s apparent neglect of questions of animal labour. While bearing witness to modes of exhaustion and precarity that reach across human and animal worlds, The Turin Horse is a quietly revolutionary film that patiently documents an animal’s revolt through her withdrawal of labour – a deterritorialising line of flight.

Keywords:   Tarr and Hranitzky, The Turin Horse, animal labour, exhaustion, precarity, Deleuze, Guattari, Nietzsche, Rancière

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