19th Titanic Filmfestival

Festival Films Programs Press News

Baltasar Kormákur was our guest

The Icelandic director of 101 Reykjavík, Jar City and White Night Wedding, President of Titanic Jury and winner of last year’s Breaking Waves Award met the audience on Thursday evening.
During his Q&A the actor-director told the audience that the first film which featured him as an actor was presented in Korea too, so he flew 20 hours to be able to participate in the screening, attended by less than 20 people. „There is nothing more depressing than an empty theatre, so I am happy that my movie has had a full house screening tonight”, he said.

The film is the director’s most optimistic and funniest work so far. In Kormákur’s opinion it was very difficult to finish the story. Even if it is a remake of Chekhov’s Ivanov, he did not want to give it a sad ending. He did not want to mislead anybody, either, but make up a realistic ending instead: „I put the most optimism I could in this movie”.

White Night Wedding was inspired by several artists, by Chekhov of course, in the first place, since the director has worked on Ivanov on stage as well with the same crew cooperating on the shooting. Kormákur was a lot influenced by Nyikita Mihalkov, especially by Unfinished Piece for Mechanical Piano, Elem Klimov and Come and See, Miloš Forman’s works and Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm. What the director fancies most particularly in these artists is their capacity to make the pleasure of film making shine through their works, however sad these stories are.

So the film is a real Chekhov-homage: its characters live in the past and long for the future. Kormákur added that he did not believe in relationships with a big age difference. „The elder person feels even older next to the younger one and this can be very depressing.” However, the film, despite its tragic basic situation, is not at all gloomy. To the audience’s question about why he chose Ivanov, if he wanted to make a comedy, the only response was: „When somebody wants to direct a comedy in Iceland, he turns to Ivanov. That’s the way it goes there.” He also explained that in his view Chekhov was a rather humorous author, although most directors refuse to realise this.

The film was being shot for six weeks in beautiful weather on the island where the crew’s families were also present, they improvised a lot and the atmosphere was great the whole time. They tried not to disturb the life of the locals, though the opera singer’s night performance echoed in the whole town. Interestingly, the scene, in which the banknotes are dispersed by the wind throughout the island, has acquired a new meaning since the economic world crisis, especially in Iceland.  

This was the director’s first time in Hungary, although, as he said, he kept being taken for a local. The Titanic Jury President stayed till the end of the festival, handing over the Breaking Waves Award to the winner at the closing ceremony.

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