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Ágnes Kocsis • Director

"I want my stories to remain inside"


- At the Bergamo Film Meeting we spoke with Hungarian director Ágnes Kocsis about her contemplative cinema

Ágnes Kocsis  • Director

One of the projects that Ágnes Kocsis is working on is a film about Hungarian 60s-70s pop star Pál Szécsi. A guest at the Bergamo Film Meeting, the young director from Budapest boasts two feature films, after winning an award at the Cannes Festival in the Cinéfondation section with the short film A virus, in 2006, The same year, her debut feature Fresh Air [+see also:
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was screened at Critics’ Week in Cannes and in a further eighty festivals worldwide, earning fourteen awards, in addition to the nomination for the European Film Academy Discovery Award. In 2010, her second feature film, Pál Adrienn [+see also:
film review
interview: Agnes Kocsis, director of P…
film profile
, won the FIPRESCI award at the Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section. In 2011, Ágnes Kocsis received the “Béla Balázs” award for her contribution to Hungarian cinema.

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Cineuropa: Can you define your cinema, the world in which you move?
Ágnes Kocsis: Certainly there are themes that interest me more than others. Human beings, despite living in society, have always experienced loneliness, that’s probably a common element in all of my films. For me art, and thus film too, is a form of communication with the audience. I’m alone considering an issue and I would like to invite the audience to consider it with me, not suggesting an answer or a solution. That’s why, I like to observe, to be contemplative, and to remain watching a situation, an object, to find connections, to leave time for reflection. I don’t need to constantly draw attention by all means and effects. I like if someone starts to wander with their thoughts while watching my film, for me it’s important that the film remains inside after it has been watched, that it becomes a memory that makes you think at length. Intellectually, you can understand a story quite quickly; in 30 seconds you can tell complicated stories, but in order to really understand the essence, to be able to share the emotions experienced by the protagonists, to go into more depth, you need more time. I always try to express this essence particularly visually, by creating a world that represents the protagonist’s inner world. 

Is there a female approach in cinema?
There is something but you can’t generalize, we can’t say that films made by female directors are all different but sometimes you observe a different approach. But I think that the difference between an Italian and a Swede can be much greater than the difference between a woman and a man. We should be more interested in how human beings see the world, and in this sense we all see it a bit or very differently. People often ask me why I make movies with women protagonists, and I then ask them if they usually ask men directors why they choose male protagonists. Of course, that’s natural. I’ve noticed that if the protagonist is a man, his story can become universal, whereas if it’s a woman then it becomes a film about women. 

Does being selected in Cannes help circulating the movie?
We were a bit unlucky with Fresh Air because the international sales company world sales went bankrupt and we couldn’t get back the rights for years. In any case, a Hungarian-language film or one that comes from small countries is rather difficult to sell. 

Are you working on a new project?
At the moment we’re writing two features. For the next film, Eden we’ve been looking for the protagonists for a while, and we’re finishing up the screenplay. In addition, we’ve just finished writing another screenplay about a Hungarian pop singer from the 60s-early 70s, Pál Szécsi, who sung, among other things, Italian songs. Szécsi was one of the most popular stars of the time. He grew up without parents, was half gypsy-Jewish and killed himself after many attempts at just 30 years of age.

(Translated from Italian)

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