"Stereotypes are easy to hate"
by Stefan Dobroiu
- Adam Csaszi talks about his first feature Land of Storms, included in the Panorama Special section of the Berlinale
Born in Hungary in 1978, Adam Csaszi studied at the University of Theatre and Film Arts in Budapest and made his first short film in 2003. In 2008, his Weak Days won the Best Short Film award at the Hungarian Film Week. With his first feature, Land of Storms [+see also:
interview: Adam Csaszi
film profile], presented at the Berlinale, he sincerely and convincingly discusses a topic that Hungarian cinema is unfamiliar with: a relationship between two men.
Cineuropa: What was the biggest challenge Land of Storms presented for you?
Adam Csaszi: I wanted to direct a film that works with sincere, minimalistic gestures and yet has a strong underlying drama and intense emotions that only come to light in rare moments. I stayed away from dialogue to highlight how the characters themselves cannot verbalize what they are going through. Thus, I had to concentrate on what the characters hide and do not talk about, rather than what is being shown and said.
It's the dawn of LGBT cinema in Eastern and Central Europe and Land of Storms is an important and effective step forward. What is the biggest problem of Eastern European LGBT cinema right now and how you think it should be handled?
The most serious problem is silence and lack of dialogue. LGBTQ topics are rarely discussed in our societies - as if it were a topic one must not talk about. The most important duty of LGBTQ cinema in our region is to get exposure and start a widespread dialogue about the topic. The unknown is easily demonised: only through the power of strong, personal stories can members of the community become familiar to the general audience.
Szabi and Aron have a very interesting non-verbal communication, almost like a choreography. Were the actors always told what to do or was there room for improvisation?
I chose sincere people who I could believe in, their acting skills were secondary and marginal for me. All the actors had experience in theatre and film, but I wanted them to put that aside. The question was not "how should I play this scene?" but "who am I?". I had a very strict rehearsal schedule with them, during which we improvised and prepared all the scenes. Everything was heavily choreographed - however, I always kept in their most sincere physical gestures and presence, and their natural voice and intonation.
How do you hope your film will be received in Hungary? Do you think the local audience is ready for such a sincere and uncompromising gay love story?
I want people to start talking about the topic - it is unbelievable that in 2014 one does not have equal rights simply because he or she is a member of a minority. The first step towards acceptance is getting closer - stereotypes are easy to hate, while real people with real stories inspire identification. I want the audience to get to know my characters, feel for them and thus accept them.
Did the project come across any form of intolerance during the production?
There was none, since the topic of the film was kept from locals - they only knew that it involved a love triangle.
Are you thinking of starting any new projects? What will they be about?
I am presently finishing the first draft of a new script titled High Dive with Land of Storms screenwriter Ivan Szabo. It is the story of Berta, whose teenage world is turned upside down as she stumbles upon sinful family secrets that lead her to commit brutal murder - her initiation into adulthood's vicious cycle of lies and violence. It is a genre-bending coming-of-age drama that initially turns into an eerie thriller, and then into a shockingly brutal slasher.