Index – Culture – I have spent the rest of my life behind the Oscar prize

László Nemes Jeles reached his first feature, Saul's son, with very few directors in history: he received the Oscar Prize, the main prize of the most important film festival, and according to the IMDB database 58 other prizes are no longer mentioned, such as the Kossuth price. But how does it feel when the second film is not as loud and spectacular as recognition? What has changed and what has remained the same?

During the Hungarian premiere of Napsült we wrote about what the film thinks about how the characters and the other creatives working on the film are remembered, this article reads here:

Now we are at László Nemes Jeles to talk about why he feels that someone wants to destroy himself, if he can use his knowledge well, why the method he uses to make his films is unusual and whether they should first be understood by everyone . And what did he say to him to become friends with Steven Spielberg?

Saul's son walked around in a very tangible case: the Holocaust; even a social program has emerged to influence the search for child sacrifices. Is there a reason for Sunshine?

We live in the ruins of a world and this world has been ruined by the twentieth century.

I am really interested in what the power of a person will be to make civilization shine or fall down. How can the forces that exist in the same society be contradictory at the same time? Technology has now become such a dimension that we have a hard time controlling and giving almost strength instead of our own brain to robots and computers.

This situation reminds me of the beginning of the twentieth century, when industrialization and science brought about forces that we did not yet know what to use. In a few decades it was revealed that we used it for our own destruction. We are still at a similar moment. I am trying to investigate how the human soul is connected to the soul & # 39; of civilization, because although the two seem to be far apart, they still determine our future.

If you say that we live at the same time as the world wars, it is based on a pessimistic view of the future.

I think this film is careful with what you believe in yourself and how you can see the dangers – even at the most dazzling moments.

Do you feel that the evolution and change of science or technology is causing cataclysm in the world? And is not the unchangeable, the unchanging intention of destruction in man?

For me the external circumstances are not that interesting, but the interior: why is this destructive force as big as a civilization promises so much?

And why?

The film asks questions but does not give answers, but tries to find out what is in us. Do we know enough about ourselves and the world around us? Do we really have something that prevents us from moving to a higher level of cooperation where the interests of an individual are preserved and the common goal can be noble? How many devastating desires does the human soul have? Maybe so many people can not cooperate.

We are not talking about such issues here because we are philosophizing and on the right shelf. But here we are at an important time for our civilization and I feel that we are drifting towards a kind of narcissistic world view, and not that humanism is moving us – so such questions are important. And cinematic art is very suitable to ask questions.

But what do you think the world is in this direction?

We live in a self-centered society, and this technology also promotes: we take photos of ourselves, we try to show ourselves and communicate – often the ideal – in ourselves. Communication is very important, but what is in us is not. It moves to the surface. The world has lost the charm of its indestructibility: we can not only feel that it can be deciphered, but also controlled, so we observe our world from an absolutely divine point of view. Technology always gives newer and newer observation points. We feel that everything is available, but that is only an illusion.

Sunshine shows not only the glittering, majestic culture of the early century, but also that there were many problems under the shimmering surface, which ultimately led to a part of society being fully confronted with the existing system. Do you feel this parallel with the age of today? Nowadays, more and more people reject values ​​that are fundamental to the Second World War, such as the unconditional respect for democracy or liberalism.

I have learned that political science, I know, can write a book about how people have organized their lives over the past few hundred years. But for me this is more philosophical than the issue of political science; For me it is more important to see what happened to humanism and to be able to look at each other as a human being. The national aspirations of the nineteenth century were fulfilled in terms of countries: in the twentieth century countries received their countries. The Austro-Hungarian monarchy depicted in the sunset depicts different nations, cultures, religions and languages ​​that existed not only in each other but also in each other. This was achieved through much blood and suffering. The nations were given the opportunity to be free and democratic, but at the end of the twentieth century they wanted more at the beginning of the 21st century. And the thing that is in us leads us to start disintegrating and overthrowing this new order.

I do not feel like we have learned so much in a hundred years;

these hundred years have created totalitarian systems and the possibility of absolute submission of the individual. I do not want to bring our own inner need to humanism.

There are totalitarian regimes built up, we have hardly disconnected them, but nowadays it does not seem so important for every electorate to actually live in a democratic framework.

I do not know if the totalitarian regimes really broke so well. I'm not sure. Nor is it possible to take into account the individual in the modern state and its institutionalized corruption. There are systems, there is less cooperation between individuals and the dignity of a person is becoming less and less important.

Sunshine shows the origins and fall of civilization and culture at the beginning of the twentieth century. But why did you choose a hat set to show the glamor? What about the hat?

The hat is a personal-related item that does not exist today, but a hundred years ago it was almost everyone, poor and rich. And they reflected a lot on the hats, their subtlety, their richness of detail. Tell us about the illusions of this world, how much energy was spent on a topic that they themselves took and what was meant to tell you something about their personality, and with different codes to talk about where the wearer is in society. Maybe even how open or closed or even interested: there was a hat on which birds or other objects were. The hat in this sense is the symbol of this era.

Both films are based on the fact that they want to hide something from the protagonist, they should not have access to anything, but he moves forward and goes all the way to the goal, despite the whole world around him. Where does this strong basic design come from?

It is certainly related to my own spiritual processes and to how only someone can be, even if it is surrounded by good people. In all my life I was a bit strange everywhere, and within that I always tried to create my own world, while I could not change the world. When you make a film, you always have a thought that you think you should share with everyone.

Why did you feel so alone?

Do not go deep, because I should do psychoanalysis for myself, which would not be so good. It was hard for me to grow up in the eighties. My parents were against it, they had a lot of problems that they did not support the Leninist path, and it was often difficult at school because I was attacked because of my origin.

From my eighth year I wanted to make films: I remember the moment I was in the apartment, I read the Lord of the Rings and I felt very strongly that this story could make a beautiful film. I wanted to give my vision, my feelings. But I never wanted to tell a story so that it would be brilliant – it never really mattered to me, but what it is worth to my inner world to share it with the world.

After the Oscar prize you will probably get some of these totally opposed to – even gigantic robots or zombies – scripts with the invitation to arrange them. Can you ever say yes to something like that?

I am willing to read any script that someone thinks I am a good director. But unless it is as if I have written – for which the odds are small enough – then I should definitely go in for my own world to appear in my filter. To have one story one on the other, there must be another type of person.

How much are you a conscious, technical screenwriter? If one of the endpoints of the scale is called Free Idea Listing Automatic, we get the cover of the subconscious and the other when all words and images work in a predetermined way like in a Hollywood blockbuster.

I think I'm in between. I have an instinctive sense of what the visions in the scenes are and I have a technician who tries to pass on the information to be passed on. I move between and out of the way.

How much do you treat in the broadest sense of all your scenes?

I am the one who works best when a citizen man comes to me on the street, tells me how important my film was to him and did not congratulate him for success, but for the film. It is important to me that I can reach the viewer, whoever it is. The viewers are categorized by us as we enlarge our own target audience and draw a line between viewers and viewers. If the onlooker is willing to leave his usual movie viewing posture, go out with his friends to the movie and watch something in the popcorn; if you are open and wondering what kind of trips we can take and try to get, then I am already happy.

Both films try to create a personal impact on the audience if they are willing to do it for her. This is a mutual gesture: I believe that the filmmaker not only looks at the viewer to start what he wants – there is something to look at. I try to represent a fashionable approach: let the viewer trust what he thinks. It is not intelligence, it is a question of openness, or just emotional intelligence. Sunshine takes you to a journey that you need to give something to work: it does not have to treat the film as an external matter, it has to enter a vortex. There may be few people who believe in it, but I do. That is why I try to dispel the grammar of the film because I think it has been badly dismissed in recent decades.

Do not you want to go to the midline? Your films are now radically permissible.

In the light of cinema, from Bergman to Bresson and Kurosawa to Tarkovsky, Kubrick and Jancsóig, from Fellini to Antonioni, everyone worried about how to give the viewer new experiences in his own language. Radicality is an absolute part of the essence of cinema. In those days they even went to the small cinema in the countryside, even if they were not sure they understood everything. But that was not the question, but how did they get them out of the film, even though they did not know how to solve everything. Today, however, we give viewers exactly what they can do to prevent panic or to turn them off. We are going down, because it is a reassurance for us, filmmakers, to get the viewer to the more and more permissible films. This is a negative spiral.

But how do you explain that nearly 300,000 people saw the son of Saul?

If there was no Grand Prix of Cannes and Oscar nomination, the number would have been stopped at 17,500. The cinema itself is no longer interested in the cinema for the spectators; they do not dream about it, they do not long for it. We have to show our own reality more and more, we have to talk to small people by telling them their own destiny, always with a narrower and narrower toolkit. The films are becoming less and less ambitious, and behind them is still an ideology: they think that if a film is ambitious, it will immediately be elitist, it will show a spoiled world view. European film funding also goes in this direction: everyone talks about what he knows, that is, about himself. But the life of a filmmaker at a practical level is usually not that interesting. But European art films increasingly resemble each other in their form, appearance, color and theme. Semi-journalism, semi-public education. But in the cinema there must be magic, it must not be available.

Was it a decisive experience for you, human or as a filmmaker, for what you have experienced as director of an Oscar-winning film: the red carpet, talks with Steven Spielberg and the biggest film legends?


When I was little, I dreamed of meeting one of these great directors one day and I thought it would never happen.

It was a surreal experience when I was invited by the director to play the Ready Player One and Steven Spielberg only had a day with me.

How did you invite me?

By that time we knew each other and the master offered to go to the shooting. He also had contact with the great generations of the previous generation, including Kubrick. There are relationships that need to be cherished within the profession. The E.T. it had a huge impact on my childhood, it was a great experience to see the master at work – because he is a master, even if he does a film that is not close to me. I am interested in how these people work, not because they are famous, but because I want to know how they can work for them.

How can you fulfill what you have achieved with your first film – that is, almost all the successes that a filmmaker can achieve – will not you be able to achieve it again, at least in such a concentration, for a long time?

That is why it was very important that if I first mentioned my first film Oscar, which would not have been compulsory, I would get the prize because otherwise I would have felt that I had led my Oscar for life after a miracle. Now I do not have to go after Oscar. Of course there are always new perspectives, but you have to try to put it into perspective: this is a metal sculpture, you can not make it an idol.

And can you put it into perspective? It is not a big disappointment when it comes to news like Sunshine will not be there in Cannes, or not to get one of the jury's best prizes in Venice? Do you not inevitably doubt the man himself?

While Venice organized the Sunset and the festival director or other people talked about the film, which was very interested in his opinion, I did not feel that I had been in a cartoon so far. And that's enough. They are serious in the industry worldwide and this is very important.

The title of the film is called Nemes László, but in Hungary it is known as Nemes Jeles László. Why was this so?

I used to use Nemes László, but I was born under the name Nemes Jeles. I grew up in Paris, I used the Nemes László as always abroad, because when I use three names, it is mixed everywhere.

Does this have anything to do with trying to distinguish your father, Andrew Jeles?

He is also called Nemes Jelas András, the one who took Neme, not me whom I picked up. I have used Neme abroad and I know the Nemes Jeles because it is my birth name. In one way or another, I always stood between the two. The name is often symbolic, just like the way we fight it.

WARNING! From here, SPOILER, read the next question, which does not bother to hear the important details of the action of the film!


Coming back to the issue of availability: there is a coding system in the Sunshine, which should be understood, despite what we see on the surface: Iris's brother Kálmán Leiter does not appear on the screen on the screen, the man we first to believe; and events are not initiated by Kálmán himself, but by himself, in essence "transformed" to Kálmán in spirit. What if one of the viewers does not decode this hidden layer of the film or simply does not understand it?

The basic story is that a girl is looking for her brother – I think everyone sees it. The question is who this brother is and you can give the key to the world that Iris does not understand, and indeed for yourself. This question is the maze itself, which is the logic of the film, its own basic experience: uncertainty, frustration, questions, secrets in the fabric of the film. I know we like the answers, but finding the answer in this movie is the way to go. How to put a puzzle on each person is definitely changing, but we're in a labyrinth with this girl, with the Scripture, I think it's all over.

In any case, we tried to write in the film that Iris Kalman continued looking after the first actor died. The question marks are strong enough to listen. And this film requires that you listen and focus on what we are not used to: putting a little bit of everything and focusing on the canvas. This is certainly a challenge. But I hope that someone who does not know how the story should be put together, moves something in the film, and that is why you might find something different later, or ideally review it again and outline it further. This film is not easy; I find it interesting because the layers are stacked on top of each other. We have exaggerated the films a bit: we have narrowed it all down to the story, the corridors of the plot. And that's how we lost something about watching movies.

Book cover: Bődey János / Index

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