Ioana Mischie: How would you describe in one word the Romanian new student film wave?
Csaba Bollók: Self-identical. Oh, is it two words? I.M.: Two in one is even better. Cinemaiubit had a special screening dedicated to Hungarian films from Esterhazy College: short films, shooted mainly on Super 8, with a very captivating experimental approach of our reality. Tell me what fundamental esthetical and thematical differences do you notice between the Romanian and Hungarian student films, as films coming from different cultural backgrounds?
C.B. : Students are inspired mainly by two things, their childhood experiences and the commercial art they consume. That is happening all over the world. In different countries you can see the differences in what extent the students keep their own selves, present their cultural specifics and social surroundings or in what extent they are ready, and without asking why, to copycat foreign models that they would like to look alike. Do you have a guess how many tiny Tarantinos are running wild in cinema schools? Luckily I haven’t seen much of them at Cinemaiubit and „Donna Must Die
” was funny enough with its clever distance to the Hollywood genre.
What you’re asking about differences between Romanian and Hungarian esthetics... We may be not that much different, we have similar past, we both are very critical to our own countries. And while the Hungarian are fatalists, and we feel good when we feel bad, I think you are a bit Latino, and you can also feel good when you feel good… is that so? I.M.: Well, I couldn’t agree more with the similarities. The film I made this summer during the Hungarian Workshop, along with Eva Papp, is one of my most personal films, because despite all the language barriers, we shared the same „childhood-inspiration” as you lovely described before and this is how the „magic” happened.
Now, speaking of workshops, you are as well the artistic leader of Slow Film Workshop, during every summer in Eger, Hungary. How did you start this initiative? Do you intend to organize it this year?
C.B.: This workshop was part of Slow Film Festival and when the festival was no longer financed, still we could save the workshop by the help of the Eszterházy Károly College. We have an upcoming Moving Images Department there and I’m running this workshop for 4 years. It’s becoming more and more international, and yes, we’ll have it this year, too. My idea was to produce freestyle movies in two weeks, with no scripts but sketches and consultations with me and my collegues, Tibor Tóth, Éva M Tóth and György Báron. So, it is a rewarding experience for those who are stuck in writing or long lasting pre-productions, who are talking about making movies, you know how it goes. There everyone is making a short and takes part in the making of other shorts.
Super 8 filmmaking is part of Slow Film Workshop and that is an old love of mine. Actually, it was the first love as I started making movies with this technique. The camera is so personal, handy, the 8mm celluloid is so fragile and with its images so impressionistic, this is my favourite endangered species of filming. And when we’ll be replacing digital with some new nano technique, still there will be Super 8. Amen. I.M.: What are your future plans as a film-maker and as well as a film-lover?
C.B.: There has been no filmmaking in Hungary in last two years, because… „Houston, we got a problem here”
. This will pass, too, governments come and go and we still be making movies. Everyone of us, unimprovable filmmakers, always want to make „a new movie”, funny as it is. So that’s not an exciting answer that will put you off the track. To get to the point in your life when you don’t want to make a movie anymore – that’s what I’d call an achievement. Especially when it’s not depending on your physical condition but is a decision that you feel you have to make. As kind of your enlightenment. I presume, to reach that point you have to make several movies, so here again, we are trapped.
I’ve made three features so far, and I’d be okay with counting them on my fingers in the end. Both hands, I mean. In East of Europe that’s a good number. But hey, that is also an ambition! And that has nothing to do with what I’ve said… the windmills keep on working, taking and giving, and with being a medium, a small part of some bigger scheme. I.M.: Can I take it as a message?
C.B.: Yes, if you like. I’d encourage young filmmakers to throw away these ambitions because they are the ones that mislead you. Instead, concentrate on your work that you are doing now. And if you are not working now, concentrate on what is around. Observe the world, you may witness moments when things are revealing themselves. If your loved one is around, leave the computer and look into his or her eyes. If you are alone, look out your window… Is there any light now?