Production of Attila Bartis’ movie begins this fall

2022. April. 19.

The author Attila Bartis, who has been awarded with Attila József Prize, the Knight's Cross and the Laurel Wreath, is working on his new film after writing and photography, which can start as early as the autumn.

The Hungarian Academy of Arts Research Institute of Art Theory and Methodology has launched a new series of thematic discussions entitled Library Discussions, which is hosted by the institute’s Digitization Center and Library in Pest Vigadó. On March 24, the first guest was Attila Bartis, a writer and photographer who has been awarded with Attila József Prize, the Knight's Cross and the Laurel Wreath. At first the host, Judit Szepesi, a librarian at the research institute, presented his initial creative period, his writing difficulties and his ars poetica, but she also talked about his work as a photographer. As Attila Bartis said, he was influenced by the eclecticism of the home environment: a hundred-year-old carpet and a worn-out cot were also present in their home, the double stove and washbasin in the kitchen contrasted with silver tableware, the unlikely noble past of mythical family history. He received his ideas and attitude from his father, Ferenc Bartis, who was a poet as well, and from whom he learned how to use the typewriter; and he also learned a lot from the shoemaker János Ötvös, who lived next door and taught him the basics of cobbler work. His later work was also influenced by the younger brother of his mother, who worked as a writer   and poet.

"For me starting writing has begun with love." The József Attila Prize-winning writer did not read or showed any interest towards fiction, but instead he became an archaeologist and Egyptologist. He went to the Art Elementary School to study art history that he would need for archeology studies. He fell in love with the lady he met there. As the young girl read Árpád Tóth and Dezső Kosztolányi, he said: "I had to try that too". This love directed him towards literature. His first novel, The Walk was published at the age of 27. He achieved his greatest success with Calmness in 2001, which was first performed at the National Theater directed by Dezső Garas, later staged in Marosvásárhely and Austria, and then the movie with the original title was directed by Róbert Alföldi.

His work, Calmness was published in Chinese in 2010, when he travelled to the Far East on a scholarship. “When I came home, I went silent, I couldn’t speak about what I saw there. What I experienced, changed my view”, as he described that period.

Attila Bartis is not only a great writer, but also an excellent photographer, so it is not surprising that as part of the Pilinszky 100 program series, he presented himself to the audience as an exhibition guide at the exhibition entitled Layers of Contingency – Photographs by János Pilinszky. Pilinszky cultivated a close friendship with the art collector Elemér Vattay, a technical photographer who gave a camera to the poet for the first time. After that, Pilinszky himself encouraged Vattay to go into art photography. He told about the poet's black-and-white paintings that although Pilinszky had only photographed for a few years, he managed to accomplish a truly meaningful example of his God -given talent through whatever he ever touched or had an influence on. The silence that is present in his late poetry also appears in his paintings.

As he mentioned, in the 1960s, black and white works were not necessarily the manifestation of a conscious decision, and only a few amateurs photographed in color. The prevalence of this technique is well illustrated by the fact that there became a silver crisis in the 1970s due to silver-based photography, the camera was found in about every 10th household in West-society.

Attila Bartis’ very first album was surprisingly taken with the help of a mobile phone and took photos smaller than a cigarette box. As he said, it knew digitally the same that Pajtás knew at that time. Due to the limitation, analog cameras require a different presence from the photographer than their digital counterparts, as the digitalism offers the ability to select from thousands of images. Although, it doesn’t mean that the analog is worse than the other.

Attila Bartis felt that his activity could be completed on the cinema screen. Since 2017 he has been writing a screenplay adapted from his book The Walk. Thanks to the tender won by the National Film Institute, the production is currently in the preparation phase, and the casting is in progress. Filming will optimally begin in late 2022 and take 40 days. There will be a lot of scenes set in Hungary, and also in Marosvásárhely, Transylvania, Gyergyószárhegy and Yogyakarta on the island of Java. The technical director of the production by Attila Bartis’ side will be Linda Dobrovszky.

During the conversation, the writer-photographer emphasized: “While it is usually a glory to be among the firsts, I would rather be the last one in a world that is just passing by, than be a leading fighter of the world that is just being born.”

The library talks will continue on May 19 at 5 pm with the staff of the Digital Humanities Center, the director István Zsolt Bánki and the digital bachelor of arts Gyula Kalcsó.

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