Szabolcs Hajdu • Réalisateur de Kalman's Day
“Nous allons là où se trouve le public”
par Teresa Vena
- Le réalisateur hongrois livre un nouveau film de chambre sur la nature des relations, où il joue lui-même le rôle principal
Cet article est disponible en anglais.
The Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival created a new competition section last year, called Critics' Picks. One of the works selected for this year's edition is the new feature by Hungarian actor-director Szabolcs Hajdu. Kalman's Day [+lire aussi :
interview : Szabolcs Hajdu
fiche film] is an intimate, conversation-based drama about the nature of relationships, and the director broke it down for us.
Cineuropa: Compared to your last film, Treasure City [+lire aussi :
fiche film], Kalman's Day does not explicitly sport a political topic. This means you should not have any major problems with censorship. What does it mean for the distribution of the film?
Szabolcs Hajdu: Distribution is not really a problem for my films. I have an audience in Hungary; there are people who wait for our projects. As for this film, we adapted it from a stage play I wrote. We performed the play more than 150 times in off-spaces – namely, in different private apartments. We go where the audiences are; we search for new, alternative places to the classical theatre or movie theatre.
This is one of the similarities that Kalman's Day shares with your previous film It’s Not the Time of My Life [+lire aussi :
interview : Szabolcs Hajdu
fiche film]. Also, you talk about similar topics here, about the dynamic in relationships. Could you tell us more about the link between the two works?
The film is part of a trilogy; it's actually its middle part. And this year, we also shot the third part. All three films were stage plays, initially. In all of them, we talk about the same topics of power structures and dynamics in relationships, about how male roles have changed in the last few years. The idea is to release all three parts at once for the cinema and to play part of it on stage – so actually, to mix film and our performance.
For It’s Not the Time of My Life, you shot in your own apartment; how did you choose the location here, and what was important about its appearance?
It was more of a practical choice. For It's Not the Time of My Life, we had no choice but to use our own flat. My former wife was worried, but we then decided to give it a try, since the shoot was scheduled over only two weeks. For Kalman's Day, we were at risk of being in the same situation, since we had already fixed the shooting days, but only one week before that, we still hadn't found a set. Then, by chance, a friend of mine offered us his flat. We didn't change a thing. It was perfect because, actually, it's not a typical Hungarian flat; it has a style that fits the feel of the film I was aiming for very well. The story is somehow an ordinary one, with a very naturalistic way of being told, but the apartment, with its peculiar charm, enhances the occasional oddness and metaphorical atmosphere of the dialogue and situations.
Can you explain what your usual working method is like?
When I start to work on a new project, what I know first of all are the actors. This time, I knew it would be us four people in the foreground – we met and discussed what would be important around us. We then give names to each other; we try to figure out what profession is connected to the names, and the backgrounds and schools. This is all without having a concrete story or situation – just intuitively. Then, with all that information, we build couples, siblings, wives, husbands, friends. After that comes the story, and I then I try to write the dialogue and situations.
For It’s Not the Time of My Life, you worked with your students on the form and the camerawork. How was it in Kalman's Day?
A lot was down to practical reasons. We had only 12 shooting days. In this very short timeframe, we had to be very fast. So for the director of photography, it was not possible to take too many different shots, from different angles where the lights had to be adapted. We therefore decided to use long shots. But I didn't want the camera to be too fixed; I wanted it to move a bit, shifting slightly to accentuate certain things. The long shots fit the story very well, since it is told over quite a condensed stretch of time, so the shots simulate the fact that time is continuous, with no cuts.
The film is an international co-production. Could you tell us more about how this came to be?
I haven’t used money from the government in the last ten years. Jim Stark, my US producer, introduced me to Swiss producer Dan Wechsler. He gave us half of the total budget, the other half came from Slovakia, where we did our post-production, and finally, some additional money also came from Hungary, from the tax rebate, but mostly from private sources.
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