Interview        Béla Tarr

I have said it all
Bela Tar i Nevena MatovicBela Tar i Nevena Matovic

This year's Cinema City festival dedicated its programme section Homage to Hungarian film director Béla Tarr, with a screening of 11 of his films. The audiences expressed the greatest interest (according to the filmmaker's words) for his latest film The Turin Horse, winner of the Silver Bear and the Fipresci award at the 61st Berlin festival.

Béla Tarr spent only a few hours in Novi Sad. His arrival was uncertain until the last moment, which is why I felt an even greater honour and pleasure about the following interview. I welcomed him and apologised for disturbing him...

- No, it's OK, now that I am here...

CL: It seems to be somehow make such wonderful films and people come to you with all sorts of questions, and you actually said it all in your film...

BT: It's surely like that, but people here want to hear something coming from my mouth, that's the thing .

CL: You are finally here. We expected your arrival a few times, but you never showed up. You were working, you were always busy...

BT: I was either working or something else was happening... Or I was sorting out my life, something always comes up... so tonight I was free and I said to myself: „why don't I go to Novi Sad!"

CL: You've probably been told already that all the screenings of your The Turin Horse are fully booked, the tickets were sold out weeks ago. What do you think about that?

BT: I'm glad. I'm glad when someone wants to see my film, I'm glad if someone is interested in other people's lives, and I'm happy when someone is interested in our point of view on life... all that is nice really.

CL: When you work on a film, do you ever think about the spectators, can you imagine what your average spectator might be like? I suppose that, while working, you have someone special on your mind?

BT: No. I surely don't. Do you know what I think about the audience, about the spectators? First of all, I am 100% certain that people are not small children. They are adults, have a certain sensibility, intelligence and they understand what we, filmmakers, want to show. That's what I mostly think about.

I also believe that people are pretty smart and that I, as a director, must give them my best.

I can see that show business people think that people are small children and that's why they serve them all sorts of stupidities, they offer them shit that's humiliating them. That's how I see it. I don't want to patronise people, I want to show myself at my best

I appreciate... Do you know the difference between fast food and the real, genuine home-made dinner? You eat your hamburger and off you run – that's what show business gives to the audience.

What we want to offer to the viewer is a genuine, home-made dinner, a very personal dinner made with love... that's the kind of „food" we serve... that's my answer to your question on the spectators. I respect my audiences.

CL: Thank you for your answer. I have exactly that feeling while I watch your movies. But I also think that it hasn't been very easy being Béla Tarr and making films all these years?

BT: You know, that is very strange. In some ways, it is quite easy because I say let's make a film and they agree with it. On the other hand, it all takes a long time, it lasts... until in everything you do people see some business opportunities. It's always been like that. If I have a smart producer who wants to produce a real Belatarrian film, he'll let me do my work freely. I don't care... if they don't want to give money – they won't, I couldn't care less. I won't make movies anymore and I don't care about such stupid stuff.

CL: Yes, it seems to me that you never made compromises. Maybe because, above all, you enjoy filmmaking?

BT: Well, not always, sometimes it's very hard. I have to admit I don't like very much getting up at 6 a.m. and start shooting... I'll tell you that sometimes it's not a great joy, conflicts may happen, different problems occur... sometimes the weather conditions are not good and we struggle with all sorts of stupidities... but you know what I like most? I like it when something hasn't existed and after our action it comes into existence...without us and our work, it would not exist... I enjoy the process of creating.

CL: Yes, you truly create a special, new world. When I think about your films, I really think about a whole new world which I enter each time I watch a film of yours. It's not easy sometimes, it's actually rather hard, but there is a feeling of satisfaction when that new world is entered.

BT: That I don't know. It is something I cannot judge, because it's something I didn't create. It's the result of group work. It's something I managed to create with the help of my friends.

You mustn't ever forget that making a film is not a ONE MAN SHOW, but something you work on with other people's help...

CL: And, of course, it's better if those people are your friends...

BT: Of course, of course... you know what the most beautiful part is? When you have an impression that all people around you, all co-workers see the things your way. In that case, everything is easy. Pretty easy. Then you don't have to explain much to your team, actors... when everything is so simple...

CL: And beforehand you need to find something in the street, in your life... something that triggers your story. Are all these stories are from everyday life?


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