Sunday, November 16, 2008

The End Of Cinema?

In my "Malaysian Cinema: Time To Move On" entry below, "Ellen" left an interesting comment and link. It leads to a website called Unspoken Cinema, and a post titled "Tarr Bela Quits Cinema."

Now, that title is sure to stop the heart of any Tarr fans. It seems in a recent interview with Cahiers du Cinema, Tarr said he was fed up of the "fucking polite equality existing in the world," and that he wants to "quit cinema, but not right away." It's all rather vague, really, but Tarr has expressly stated he would quit cinema, only there's no deadline, just that he would make one last film. He also expressed dismay at today's audiences who want "less and less a demanding cinema." I definitely share this view, but to quit filmmaking altogether just because of it?

Even so, it's easy to understand his frustrations and see how he wants to avoid being thrown out of the cinema by not-too-discerning audiences, and to exit the doors himself, which would be more dignified. And so, there's a kind of petition going on at Unspoken Cinema, calling for readers to sign and comment there and to start a kind of unofficial blogathon/petition to urge Tarr not to quit, to convince him that there are still believers in his kind of cinema.

I love Tarr's films, and I have only seen three - Werckmeister Harmonies, Damnation and the seven-and-a-half-hour Satantango. It was the hauntingly desolate Werckmeister Harmonies, in its subtle parallel of a certain music theory with humanity itself, that first completely caught my imagination. There was, of course, the now infamous controversy and uproar over whether Tarr's extravagant demands during the making of The Man From London were what drove his producer to suicide.

But it's impossible to deny that the Hungarian master is a unique voice much needed in cinema today, as a counterweight to the too-easily digestible pap out there.

So, head on over to Unspoken Cinema and sign your name, and also blog about the whole issue.

COPYRIGHT POLICY: It's simple: Steal my stuff and I'll kick you in the nuts