Bela Tarr: Hard poetics of image

Seeing this imagery and feeling a little as I did when I first discovered Tarkovsky, Just simply a little less alone in the world. I didn’t feel like such a weirdo or freak for wanting to make the films that I do. That is not to say that My films have a lot in common with Bela Tarr they are not of course long slow masterpieces!

However The chief reason I write this was to see his use of black and white photography, Most of the time when i have mentioned my wish to make this dil as black and white, (it will of course be shot in colour as digital is defaulted to and enables a conversion in post. But Jake an accomplish photographer and DOP  was pushing me away from the idea a little and and suggesting that if we shoot in mainly natural light that B+W seems a less obvious choice.

Of course I disagreed and this lead me to looking into great proponents of black and white in natural light, enter the Bela Tar recent find. But I noticed something else the tone of his films had a deep resonance with my ideas for this film some of the shots evoked the essence itself of low season, tracking shots in Santantago of two men waling down a street back to the camera, whilst rubbish blows around them just made my jaw drop this could be in my film minus the (2nd character)

A find is a find, so for once, thanks to my argumentative nature!

To follow this up I also Watched Kes (1969) Ken Loaches early masterpiece, How fitting that he should be still making films over 4 decades later and still be the real champion of the working class, the disposed and forgotten. It is equally depressing To note this of course, In an age where we need more than ever to find new voice in film to reinterpret, and interrogate the social and political pressures and failings of our modern age…. Where are all the young and angry guns?

Making marvel films?

Anyway minor rant aside, it was a real masterclass in tactility and mood to see a film that after all this time can still punch you in the guts just as hard after 40 years.

What I lack in dialogue I hope to make up for in mood and place and space, Kes has it all of course, it’s shots of Northern grime and toil are so tangible as to make us want to reach for a soapy flannel.

But its beauty and power lies in its glimmers of hope, they may be tiny specks but they are there. one such glimmer is that of the Teacher Mr Farthing who comes to see him fly his kestrel. And who appears as a voice of reason between a diminishing old school of boots braces and brutality. this use of small glimmers lends a deep power to the film as punches are not pulled and characters including Billy’s mother and brother are shown as fighting it out in a a tough and bleak world with little opportunity for relief but unlike other film makers who appear to almost loathe the characters Loach manages to strike a balance between realism and humanity, we are not encouraged to sympathise with them, this would suggest we are above them and have to stoop to there level, no he manages to show dignity and reality and still make social comment on a class system that reinforces harsh social realities on its working classes.

It is a tour de force of film making.


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