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Interview Kornél Mundruczó


Short interview with film- and theaterdirector Kornél Mundruczó

You are a filmmaker and a theatre director. How do you choose the medium to tell a story?

If I have a topic I find interesting, which moves me, I can actually imagine using either medium for it. The difference is in the point of view I use to show the  issue. And then there is also a totally simple answer to your question. I’m a film director first, but because financing a film takes a lot more time than financing a theatre production, I can work more frequently in theatre than in film.

Hungary is in a very difficult political situation in terms of democratic standards. What role does theatre play in Hungary today?

The same as it always has. The role of art remains the same. To show things, or problems, in their complexity and to confront people with issues. In my opinion it is a mistake to use theatre for political protest, as it will immediately eliminate a group of people.

You are a very successful artist internationally. How do you relate to the difficult situation of the arts in Hungary?

I feel the truth of Imitation of life in my own life. In its independency, Proton Theatre is in a vacuum. We can say that I actually have a ghost company. On the other hand, this status really gives total freedom and independence.

A majority of theatre visitors  come from bourgeois classes. Imitation of Life shows outsiders, people who are left behind by social and economic developments. What kind of impact do you hope the show will have on theatre audiences?

I want my shows to always have the same impact. To let those people speak whose voices are not yet heard in everyday life, the voices of the all-time outsiders. And you can do this even in conservative and bourgeois circles. I’m not interested in bourgeois art, nor in the criticism of it.

In the context of your film White God you said in an interview – we are paraphrasing now – that (East European) filmmakers need to stop making beautiful melancholy films, and that they need to take up genres with which they can reach younger audiences.
You shouldn’t communicate from an elite prison to an elite cast. But that’s actually the same thought I mentioned above.

If you hadn’t become an artist, what would have been your profession? And why?

I didn’t plan to be an artist, although I didn’t plan to be anything else either. But if I had to stop being an artist right now, I would probably make something connected to mother nature.

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