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Activities - 13/10/2011

 

27 Times Cinema - The Portraits- Martin Kudlac - Cinemax - Trnava - Slovakia

 

Could you introduce yourself and tell us who you are? How long have you been going to the cinema? Why do you like cinema?

My name is Martin Kudlác and I am from Slovakia, the heart of Europe. Last year I finished my studies at the faculty of Mass Media in Trnava and I’m currently doing a PhD. I was tempted by the arts during my studies, which is why I started studying aesthetics in Nitra during my last year as an undergraduate. Naturally, one has to eat, so I have also started to work in a French-speaking company and I am still there. Unfortunately, this work is not linked to cinema or art in any way, which is too bad. It´s very hard to find work in this field, but it´s still one of my life goals.

How long have you been going to the cinema?

I’ve been going to the cinema as long as I can remember. After fall of the communism, there was cinema in almost every village. This was also our case; we would go with our parents, but also with friends. We had a lot of fun, but soon they started to shut down all the small cinemas and today, there are cinemas only in bigger cities along with film clubs.

Why do you like cinema?  Why do you prefer cinema to other media or to books, for example?

Well, it was first form of art I was in contact with. Or which was in contact with me, to be more precise. Of course, in those times nobody considered it as art. Those movies weren´t art, but nowadays they have been classified as pop-culture artifacts. After many many genre movies, I started to realize there has to be more in movies then just the fun factor. Then I experienced the greatest works of cinema by Fellini, Tarkovsky, Bunuel, Passolini, Fassbinder, Lang and others... When I was child, I preferred cinema because it was fun and you didn’t have to read. But along with my art film awakening came my literary awakening. I am keen reader as I am keen cinefile. Naturally, nowadays due the lack of time, it is easier to watch movies, but I also try to read as many books as I can. As matter of preferences, they both have unique ways of narration, specific semiotics and symbolism, so I like them both equally. I also love theatre, especially experimental and absurd dramas. But there is one great inter-textual link between all the forms of art: literature, theatre, music, visual arts and of course cinema.

Tell us what type of cinema or which kind of films you prefer?

Well, as a matter of fact, I prefer older movies by auteurs mentioned before. I also enjoy German expressionism, French Nouvelle Vague, neorealism, British kitchen-sink realism, avant-garde and experimental cinema. But in general, I prefer European cinema, especially Auteur cinema. I love Danish and Scandinavian films and nowadays also Romanian New Wave looks very interesting. I also enjoy eastern films, because there is a lot different culture and styles. Recently Winter Vacations by Li Hongqi caught my sight and it was a hilarious and intelligent movie. And at film festival Summer Film School I have seen retrospective of Apichatpong Weerasethakul where there were films with narration quite different to our western paradigm. So I do not have any particular preferences and one can find something interesting in each and every film.

What are your 3 favorite films?

Well, I hate to classify film in some tops 3. You can find very interesting ideas or aspects in every film. But I must admit, I have been fascinated by Flemish film Ex Drummer by Koen Mortier, which has everything I demand from a cinema art artifact. Recently, the cinematic a-bomb was dropped between my both hemispheres by Béla Tarr and his opus magnum, The Turin Horse. Absolutely genial pieces of cinema. And to give a credit also to independent American cinema, let´s say Synecdoche, New York by enigmatic Charlie Kaufman got me with its lyrical existentialism, very impressive. But there are tons of films which I like and lot of them which I love like films of von Trier, Haneke, Seidl, Sokurov, Resnais and many more.

Do you participate to film forums online? If yes, which ones? Or do have your own blog?

I do not have enough time to participate on forums or to write on a blog, but I have been for a long time active in a field of film journalism. I have written for several magazines, printed ones and also webzines. Nowadays, I am part of editorial team of film online magazine 25FPS (www.25fps.cz ). I am collaborating with Slovak and also Czech magazines. From time to time, I also do articles on demand as recently for film festival Summer Film School in Uherské Hradištì, Czech republic, which is, to be honest, quite an advance in my pseudo-journalist career.

Do you make films yourself? Do you put them on the Internet?

Naturally, at one point I had a go. During studies, me and my classmates, we made several shorts to get some grades. Nothing amazing, though I enjoy it. One of my friend went shortly after that to study film production, so it had to be some kind of inspiration. I would like to be able to make a film at some point, that’s for sure, but I do not believe it will happen.... But dreams are free.

What do you think of European cinema?  What does European cinema represent for you?

I definitely prefer European cinema. It is a birthplace of lot of great, memorable and influential films. For me, European cinema is synonym for first class quality cinema. I think that nowadays, the European cinema is in some kind of renaissance. Following European films appeared at several of this year’s film festivals: Attenberg (A.R. Tsangari), Habemus Papam (N.Moretti), Mistérios de Lisboa (R.Ruiz), Play (R.Ostlund), Le gamin au vélo (J.P. and L. Dardenne), Blue Bird (G. van den Berge), The Turin Horse (B.Tarr), Michael (M.Schneizler), Womb (B.Fliegauf) and the list goes on and on...That´s pretty impressive. And there are many many more to come.

Do you feel European? Do you travel often in Europe? Have you ever lived abroad?

Absolutely. I feel 150% European. Well, I try to travel as much as possible. So far as I can remember, we have spent every holiday somewhere in Europe. As someone has a dream to travel or live in USA, I would like to travel trough Europe. This year, I have fulfilled my dream to visit London and now I am tempted by Scandinavian countries and Denmark. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to live abroad so far.

Which cinema are you representing at 27 Times Cinema? What do you like most about this venue?

I am here under the banner of Cinemax, more precisely Cinemax Trnava. I like the calm atmosphere of this venue, because it´s not as big as another multiplexes, which I prefer. But there is another thing I like the most and that’s a special place reserve for projections of art films (section called Artmax), where they screen films for demanding audience. Film by Terry Gilliam called Tideland, which was a quite underrated by Slovak audience and got bad reviews in the time of its premiere, was screened there few years after first projection. They gave it another chance, though I do not know whether that time the audience appreciated it more. Nevertheless, they have also another initiative called 7x7, some kind of mini film festival with European films which is very interesting and furthermore the projections are free. That’s great for general public who can get in touch with European and sometimes more difficult films than contemporary Hollywood.

What are your habits as a film-goer?

To be honest, I do not have any special habits. I just want to be in peace whilst watching films to able to fully concentrate.  People who are constantly chatting during the whole movie are bit irritating and this is happening more and more, especially at film festivals.

How often to you go to cinema? Do you prefer to go to see a film alone or with friends?

When I was younger, it was a habit to watch films with friends and after that to go for a drink. But those times are over for me, now I prefer to be alone during screening to be able to fully enjoy the film. For me, watching film is not some form of escapism or for wasting time because I do not have anything to do. I see watching film, and we are talking about art production, as equivalent of observing paintings in a gallery. It´s a form of absorbing the art, sometimes it´s a road to catharsis and sometimes is just a pure transcendental experience (as in the case of The Turin Horse). I’m becoming a real fan of film festivals because they screen several films in a row, so I am truly glad to be part of 27 Times Cinema.

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Pictures:
Ex Drummer
The Turin Horse
Synecdoche New York
Cinemax, Trnava
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