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Conversation with Bela tarr

Fuori concorso Under the God (part 1)

Conversation with Bela tarr

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Bela Tarr, welcome back to Ticino! You were here earlier in the year to conduct a workshop with film students, and now we are seeing the final films they made with you here, during this festival. What do you like to teach young aspiring filmmakers?

You have to understand that even if I quit filmmaking, I still believe in the future of Cinema, and in the future of motion pictures, because this is our language. And this is why I like to teach students here but also by giving a workshop in Sarajevo at my own film school, also in France. I don’t believe in education, I believe in liberation – this is what I try to teach, how to find freedom and liberate yourself.

A new generation is now discovering your work, which is so different from what they are growing up with right now. What do you think draws them to it?

If they want to work with me, I guess it is because they know me. And, I went through all the applications myself, to decide who I wanted to work with, because I am learning from them as much as they are learning from me. There were people coming not just from Cisa, but from all over the world, from Asia, from the United States, and with each one we worked differently. But we never spoke about my old work.

But speaking of your old work, you were just involved in the restoration of Satantango. What did it feel like to watch your work from 25 years ago?

I finally agreed to a digital restoration of Satantango, after resisting it for so many years. I have overseen the final grading, and had to look at every single take we did. And I must say, I would not have liked to change anything. I still totally agree with all of my past choices. But I am not going to turn into one of those lazy filmmakers that just work on the restoration of their old films. I have just done a big show in Vienna, a mix of theater and images, using two hundred immigrants, and I have curated an exhibition of my own works at the Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam. I am not lazy.

Where is the place you call home these days?

Hungary. I have a house in Hungary. It is where I have my own bed, and my washing machine. I would like to do more work there, but it’s not easy right now. So I am happy to go anywhere. But Hungary is home.

Massimo Benvegnu

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