Hungarian director Béla Tarr will receive the Honorary Award of the European Film Academy at the 36th European Film Awards in Berlin on December 9, writesThe Hollywood Reporter.
With this award the European Film Academy (EFA) wishes to pay special tribute to an outstanding director and a personality with a strong political voice, who is not only deeply respected by his colleagues but also celebrated by audiences worldwide,”
“Béla Tarr is the sixth filmmaker to receive this recognition – earlier recipients were Manoel de Oliveira, Michel Piccoli, Sir Michael Caine, Andrzej Wajda, and Costa-Gavras,” the Academy added.
Born in Hungary, Béla Tarr first started amateur experiments in filmmaking at the age of 16. His feature debut came in 1979, with Family Nest (Családi tűzfészek), immediately winning the Grand Prix at the Mannheim Film Festival. In 1982, The Prefab People (Panelkapcsolat) received a special mention in Locarno. This was followed by the chamber drama Almanac of the Fall (Őszi almanach) in 1984, and Damnation (Kárhozat), nominated for the first European Film Awards in 1988.
One of his best-known films is Satantango (Sátántangó), a 450-minute adaptation of the novel of the same name by László Krasznahorkai, featured in the Berlin Film Festival’s Forum section in 1994, where it won the Caligari award.
“It also exemplifies quite well Béla Tarr’s unique style, his films following their own rhythm, taking time in long black-and-white shots,” the EFA highlighted in their press release.
The organization also mentioned his movies Werckmeister Harmonies (Werckmeister harmóniák) and The Man From London (A londoni férfi). As the EFA wrote, the latter one is an adaptation of L’Homme de Londres by Georges Simenon, and played in competition in Cannes in 2007. Two years earlier, in 2005, Cannes Film Festival celebrated the film director as “Foreign Cineaste of the Year.” His 2011 film The Turin Horse received the jury’s Grand Prix Silver Bear and FIPRESCI awards at the Berlin Film Festival and was nominated for the European Film Awards.
Tarr is the honorary president of the Hungarian Filmmakers’ Association and a member of the Széchenyi Academy of Letters and Arts. He has been given the most prestigious Hungarian prize for artists, the Kossuth Prize, and the Hungarian prize for filmmakers, the Balázs Béla Prize. As the EFA highlighted his political activism among the reasons for the award, it is worth mentioning that Tarr is an outspoken critic of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his government.
In 2013, he founded a film school, known as “film.factory” in Sarajevo and moved there in 2016.