Film Industry Role: Director
Major Works: "Sátántangó" (1994) and "Damnation" (1988)
Major Awards and Nominations: Berlinale Jury Grand Prix (2011)
Béla Tarr is one of the most appraised directors today and is responsible for films that are widely accepted by the critic as some of the most important works in film history to date.
With several awards from both the Berlinale and Cannes, as well as many other film festivals, Béla Tarr began his career at the young age of 16, making amateur films.
His amateur work attracted the attention of the Bela Balazs Studios that helped fund Béla Tarr's first feature film: "Family Nest" (1977). The film’s philosophy was rooted in socialist realism – theme that was present throughout his earlier work and can also be seen in the films "The Outsider" (1981) and "The Prefab People" (1982).
It was also in 1982 that the first dramatic change in Tarr’s style happened, with a television adaptation of "Macbeth": this film was composed with only two shots, with the first shot being five minutes long, and the second 67 minutes long. The philosophy imprinted in his films also changed, shifting from realism to a more metaphysical viewpoint.
After the release of "Almanac of Fall" (1984), another significant change occurs in Tarr’s filmmaking process: he began collaborating with Hungarian novelist Laszlo Krasznahorkai, whose works were the basis of the films "Damnation" (1988), "Sátántangó" (1994) – wildly regarded as Tarr’s masterpiece, it took over seven years to produce and has a duration of seven and a half hours – and "Werckmeister Harmonies" (2000). With "Damnation", Tarr established the visual style for which he is known today: the use of black and white and shots characteristically long in length.
In 2007 "The Man from London", starring Tilda Swinton, is released and just 4 years later Tarr announces he is retiring as a Director. His next (and last) film is released in 2011: "The Turin Horse", which wins him the Jury Grand Prix at the Berlinale.
Béla Tarr’s masterclass at Training Ground represents a truly unique opportunity to learn about film with a living legend of filmmaking, who is also an absolute icon of independent cinema.