I recently re-watched the Hungarian film, The Werckmeister Harmonies, one of the strangest films I have ever seen, even by Central European standards. At the end of it was a short interview with the filmmaker, Bela Tarr, who is about as far from Hollywood’s machinery as it is possible to be. The following was scribbled and I have trouble reading it back, but I think I got most of it right.
He claimed that film is not about telling stories but about getting closer to each other, of understanding each other, understanding each other. He claimed the protagonists of his film are scenery, weather and time. Locations have their own faces, and are important for the role they play in the story, which is all rather upside down to most of our thinking, but intriguing to think about art in this way.
“I regard the audience as partners, perhaps more grown up than I am. People watch with hearts and minds but they only believe their eyes. “
“I believe one is making the same film all through one’s life.”
“There are no allegories in any of my films. There is no symbolism. The film in any genre is always something definitive because the instrument of the lens can only record real things. “
“i do not regard anything with sanctity apart from life itself”
“i consider politics to be a dirty business and not the object of any works of art.”
He also spoke of how he can only work with friends, and that often the film becomes much longer than originally planned, because the story changes as they film it. He spoke of how he tells the composer – who he has known for some 15 years – what the story will be, so the music is played whilst it is being filmed, so the film is crafted with the score.