“People saw my earlier [student] films and said, 'Yes, they're nice', but I knew they were missing something. So for this film I wanted to find a strong feeling, some pure anger, and I decided it would be a revenge story,” Matyassy says.
Rather than steep himself in European cinematic tradition, Matyassy drew from Asian and American genres. “My teacher, Ferenc Grunwalsky, told me, 'You're going to ruin it if you try to make it this kind of dusty film of people in the country sitting in their gardens,'” Matyassy says.
The director turned to Terrence Mallick's Badlands and John Boorman's Deliverance (shot by Hungarian-born cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond) for inspiration. “I wanted to make a cruel film full of emotions,” he says. “I wanted to make a film that made people talk about the story, not the film language.”
At the heart of the story is the rape victim, Eszter, played by Matyassy's wife, Terez Vass. The character emerged gradually as Matyassy wrote the script. “I knew that the female character was going to be very pure and very close to nature, and finally I realized that she was autistic,” Matyassy says.
The end result is a gripping film with thriller elements which nonetheless bears the signature of a European auteur, which suits Matyassy just fine. “Shortly after the premiere, one newspaper wrote that [Lost Times] is an arthouse film that's watchable,” he says.
Lost Times is produced by Unio Film. It will be released in Hungary this autumn.