Hungary in the running with maestro Tarr
by Fabien Lemercier
20/04/2007 - All’s well that ends well for Hungarian helmer Bela Tarr, with his The Man from London [trailer] selected yesterday to compete in the Official Selection at the 60th Cannes Film Festival (May 16-27).
The film’s selection also marks a happy ending for Cineuropa, which followed the production’s ups and downs (see article). The director, who has made eight features since 1979, can now look forward to becoming known as a “maestro” of auteur film.
Tarr (51) – who presented his Werckmeister Harmonies at the 2000 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight– will be making his first appearance in official competition at a major festival at Cannes.
The film is an adaptation of Georges Simenon’s novel L'homme de Londres. Featuring British actress Tilda Swinton, Czech actor Miroslav Krobot and Hungary’s Janos Derzsi and Istvan Lenart, The Man from London centres on Maloin, a simple switchman at a railway station who witnesses a murder and accidentally procures a suitcase full of money, which transforms his lonely existence but also brings him a fair share of problems.
A thriller undoubtedly transfigured by Tarr, who said he was drawn by the fusion of universal and very down-to-earth themes evoked in the novel.
The Man from London is a European co-production between France’s 13 Productions, Hungarian outfit T.T. Filmmuhely (company directed by Tarr) and Germany’s Von Vietinghoff Filmproduktion and Black Forest.
The €5.3m budget feature included CNC advances on receipts of €380,000, €400,000 from the Eurimages fund, €480,000 in co-production and pre-sales from Arte France Cinéma, backing from ZDF, pre-sales from Canal + and funding from the Hungarian Motion Picture Foundation, as well as the Hungarian Ministry of Culture.
Sales on the feature are being handled by Dutch outfit Fortissimo.
(Translated from French)