Jonathan Rosenbaum taught a seminar on American independent film at Bela Tarr’s film.factory, the 3-year graduate film/filmmaking program he’s begun in Sarajevo. How’s that going?
I soon discovered that one of the main reasons why film.factory wasn’t a school was that it was much closer to a film shoot, something Béla knew and understood a lot better. This meant that everything, my screenings and lectures included, was subject to last-minute revisions due to weather, equipment, health, sudden inspirations and other variables. And bearing in mind Orson Welles’ definition of a film director as someone who presides over accidents – along with the dawning realisation that the same vicissitudes might even apply to film historians, and therefore to what we all know as film history – an important part of my own education over my 18 days in Sarajevo was learning how to roll with all the punches.
One good thing about being Bela Tarr is you’re never at a loss for ways to fill a sudden gap in the schedule:
a screening of Béla’s 450-minute Sátántangó one Saturday (the first time [f.f program mgr] Sunčica and nearly all the others saw it), introduced by me. This was followed the next day by Béla lecturing for four-and-a-half hours about how he made it, shot by shot and take by take, using a sort of post-it storyboard as his narrative thread. (As with the film itself, there were two intermissions.)
The workshop before Rosenbaum’s was led by Carlos Reygadas. The one after was by Tilda Swinton, a Socratic dialogue about performers, and it sounds fascinating. Seriously.
a personal report on an adventure called film.factory [bfi via keyframe daily]