Tarr Béla : "It's very difficult to talk about what we really think to be a film. The question really is what is film for? It's a long time since we came to the conclusion that film is not about telling a story. It's function is really something very different, something else. So we can understand everyday life. And that somehow we can understand human nature, why we are like we are.
We believe that apart from the main protagonists in the film there are other protagonists: scenery, the weather, the time and locations have their faces and they are important, they play an important role in the story.
From the very beginning the way we handled was probably different from other films. first of all because we cut and edited the film differently, most films are edited in the way pieces of information are edited, we didn't do it that way. We are paying more attention to the internal psychological processes. And we concentrate on the personal existence and the personal presence of the actors and actresses. That is why meta-communication is that important, indeed is more important than the verbal communication. And from here it is only a short step to put it in time and space.
[..] there is a huge difference between literature and film. They use two different languages. Writers have much wider opportunities in terms of writing hundreds of sentences and they can invoke feelings in a much more varied way. film in itself is quite a primitive language. It's made simpler by it's definiteness, by it's being so concrete and that's why it's so exciting. It's always a challenge to do something with this limited language. The writer Krasznahorkai always says :
'How can you do anything with such limited options, with such limited tools?'He is exasperated by the fact that we, as he sees it, deal with such cheap things. film is a cheap show in the marketplace and it's a great thing that we can develop that into something valuable."
interview by Jonathan Romney
(National film theatre, London, 15 March 2001)
translated by Laszlo Hackenast.