Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Béla of the Ball

Werckmeister harmóniák (2000), Director Béla Tarr

Hungarian director Béla Tarr (at left) is one of several director’s from our seven Sister City countries who have had works accepted at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Tarr’s works – in an exceeding positive review – were once described by a critic as, “Ponderous musings on misery, doom, and despair, set in apocalyptic Eastern European purgatories of feral dogs, relentless rain, and viscous mud …” He’s best known for his trilogy featuring a seven-hour film, with the bookend films clocking in at another six or so.

His film of the hour at Cannes is The Man From London (Londoni férfi) and is based on the novel by Belgian writer Georges Simenon. Tarr adapted the film with László Krasznahorkai. The film production itself seems to fit the above description of agony in the making from threats to shut down the production, lack of financing and finally completion.

The film is about a man who witnesses a mystery, and nothing else is known at the moment. It stars Tilda Swinton opposite Czech actor Miroslav Krobot. The international ensemble cast also features British actress Leah Williams, and Hungarian actors Janos Derzsi and Istvan Lenart. German cinematographer Fred Kelemen is the director of photography.

Tarr has been written about extensively and here are some links to web articles about the artist.
Brightlights Film Journal
Village Voice