Béla Tarr

Béla Tarr
05 - 14 July

Béla Tarr (Pécs, 21 July 1955) is a Hungarian film director, widely regarded as one of the most influential film authors of the past thirty years. He is a master of the long take and of films that express the vulnerability of human condition. We see in his films the power of the frame: the fluid gait, sinuous and glacial movement of the camera. Béla Tarr began making amateur films at the age of 16. His amateur work brought him to the attention of the Bela Balazs Studios (named in honor of the Hungarian cinema theorist), which helped fund Tarr's 1979 feature debut Family Nest, a work of socialist realism clearly influenced by the work of John Cassavettes. The 1981 piece The Outsider and the following year's The Prefab People continued in much the same vein, but with a 1982 television adaptation of Macbeth, his work began to change dramatically; comprised of only two shots, the first shot (before the main title) was five minutes long, with the second 67 minutes in length. Not only did Tarr's visual sensibility move from raw close-ups to more abstract mediums and long shots, but also his philosophical sensibility shifted from grim realism to a more metaphysical outlook similar to that of Andrei Tarkovsky. After 1984's Almanac of Fall, Tarr (who had written his first four features alone) began collaborating with Hungarian novelist Laszlo Krasznahorkai for 1987's Damnation. A planned adaptation of Krasznahorkai's epic novel Satantango took over seven years to realize. The film, a 415-minute masterpiece, finally appeared to international acclaim in 1994. Tarr’s films have won major awards in some of the world’s greatest festivals. Among numerous awards and nominations The Turin House (2011) won the Berlin International Film Festival’s Silver Bear and FIPRESCI Awards, and the FIPRESCI Best Foreign Film Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. The Man From London (2007) was nominated for the Palme d’or at Cannes Film Festival. Werckmeister Harmonies (2000) was nominated for the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Foreign Language Film and won two Hungarian Film Critics Awards. His 7 and a half hour masterpiece,Satantango (1994) won the Berlin International Film Festival Caligari Award, the Prix de l’Age d’Or award, and the National Society of Film Critics Award (USA) for experimental film. Tarr remains an active filmmaker with 6 films in various stages of post-production and completion. He has worked in both long and short film formats, and as a producer, as well as writer/director. In September 2012, he received the BIAFF special award for lifetime achievement. Gus Van Sant often cites Tarr as a huge influence on his later work, beginning with Gerry when Van Sant began using very long uninterrupted takes. In January 2011, Tarr joined the Board of Directors of the recently formed cinema foundation and NGO for human rights Cine Foundation International. In a press release dated January 24, 2011 Tarr made the following statement regarding the imprisonment of filmmakers Jafar Panahi : “Cinematography is an integral part of universal human culture! An attack against cinematography is desecrating universal human culture! This cannot be justified by any notion, ideology or religious conviction! Our friend, brother and esteemed colleague Jafar Panahi is in prison today, based on conjured and fictional accusations! Jafar did not do anything else than what is the duty of all of us; to talk honestly, fairly about our own country and loved ones, to show everything that surrounds us with tender tolerance and harsh austerity! Jafar’s real crime is that he did just that; gracefully, elegantly and with a roguish smile in his eyes! Jafar made us love his heroes, the people of Iran; he achieved that they have become members of our families! WE CANNOT LOSE HIM! This is our common responsibility, as despite all appearances we belong together. “ Still frame from his movie Sátántangó (1994)

This is what I can say to young filmmakers: Go and be more radical, be more revolutionary than I was.
Béla Tarr