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Bela Tarr on haiku and big novels

Posted at 10:39 AM on September 14, 2007 by Euan Kerr

Hungarian director Bela Tarr makes long films with long, long takes, to the delight of fans and the bafflement of others.

Tarr is in town for a Regis Dialog tonight at the Walker Art Center.

The event will kick off a month long retrospective of his work which includes screenings of his earliest work done in Communist Hungary to his latest work "The Man from London" which was screened at Cannes and Toronto.

Tarr doesn't smile much. His eyes stare with an unblinking intensity when you ask him questions, and he is uncompromising in his beliefs.

One of his strongest beliefs is in the intelligence of the audience. He says he makes his films for smart people, but he demands a commitment of time and attention. He wants people to really watch, to experience what the film is conveying.

The Walker will show "Satantango" which runs seven hours and features takes that last longer than 10 minutes.

When asked about the length he shrugs and points out that people also read "War and Peace." He speculates that some people might want to edit out the 'peace' part because it's boring. He says he has made short films of five minutes which he describes as haiku, and sometimes he says you just have to make "War and Peace."

Listen for Tarr tonight on All Things Considered.

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