Kaunas International Film Festival in cooperation with Magyar Filmunió and Hungarian Cultural Institute in Tallinn will present a retrospective of the famous and unique Hungarian filmmaker and screenwriter Béla Tarr. The organisers are glad to announce that Béla Tarr has confirmed his participation in person at the Kaunas Film Festival.
Seven films will be screened during the Festival, including the exclusive seven-hour black comedy Satantango (1994), which brought the director worldwide fame. The film has been screened in Lithuania only once and is often described as one of the most important works of cinema of the 1990s which expanded the boundaries of the language of film and inspired multiple filmmakers. The film follows the scheme of tango – six steps forward and six backwards – takes the viewer to a desolate post-communist Hungarian village, where time has stopped under a never-ending rain, while solitary residents struggle to break free from slumber. They wait and they hope for Someone to come, wake them up and resume life. And Someone does come… Satantango won the “Caligari” award in the 1994 Berlin International Film Festival in Germany, “L'Age d’Or” award in Brussels International Film Festival in Belgium, and a special prize in the Hungarian Film Week in Budapest, Hungary.
“Kaunas Film Festival has from the beginning tried to make retrospectives that show the main traces of film history”, said Tomas Tengmark, programmer of Kaunas International Film Festival. “Béla Tarr is one of the most prominent European filmmakers. Since the first film Family Nest to the latest The Man from London, with films like Werckmeister Harmonies and Satantango, he has created his own film language.”
“No doubt Béla Tarr is a unique filmmaker. Even if his films rarely appear on the screens not only in Lithuania, many filmmakers unanimously title Béla Tarr a visionary and cite his works as a source of inspiration. We are looking forward to meeting this legendary director in person”, said Ilona Jurkonytė, director of Kaunas International Film Festival. “His relation both with the cinematic reality and the living reality is capturing, compelling and challenging. This is how I felt when I first saw Béla Tarr’s films – I accepted the challenge and was left maybe slightly disturbed, but in the end rewarded at the same time. When presenting the programme of Kaunas Film Festival we obey a strict rule – we believe in the viewer and his readiness to watch films measured with spiritual standards.”
The retrospective will cover Béla Tarr’s early works including dramas Family Nest (Családi tűzfészek, 1979), Prefab People (Panelkapcsolat, 1982), Almanac of Fall (Öszi almanach, 1984), and Damnation (Kárhozat, 1987) that show marginalised characters and bring up social issues of the 1980s.
It will also include later films of Béla Tarr focusing on metaphysical issues, puzzles of human nature, solitude, spiritual derangement and disability. The Festival’s screens will welcome the Werckmeister Harmonies (Werckmeister harmóniák, 2000) and The Man from London (A londoni férfi, 2007) with Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton. The latter film tells about a switchman who unexpectedly witnesses a crime. The mystical criminal drama was nominated for the “Palme d’Or” award in the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. The author’s films can be distinguished for non-linear stories, semi-documentary style, dark, long and hypnotic takes, black and white film, and the recurring motif of rain.
Béla Tarr’s latest film is expected to premiere this year. The unique visual language of the filmmaker, who describes European culture as a combination of Russian sentimentality, Hungarian sadness and Portuguese melancholy, has inspired a number of famous authors, including Susan Sontag, Gus Van Sant and Jim Jarmusch.
The 4th Kaunas International Film Festival will take place on October 1–17 in film theatres “Forum Cinemas”, “Pasaka” and “Skalvija” in Kaunas and Vilnius.