Akira Kurosawa: There’s something to be said for black and white, and I harbor the hope of returning to it some day. A black and white film has a special quality. It’s difficult to describe, but that quality is still very much alive for me today. — 1991

Andrei Tarkovsky: I love black and white cinema; I feel as if I discovered it. Audiences are supposed to prefer color films, but I believe that color is much less realistic than black and white. We don’t normally notice color, except in the cinema where it’s somehow exaggerated. So the most ‘real’ images on film are in monochrome… For me, black and white has an unforgettable and highly expressive quality, and I will continue to make films that include a lot of black and white. — 1981

David Lynch: Black and white does have the ability to take you into a world that’s different, be it in the past as in The Elephant Man or in a parallel world as in Eraserhead. Sometimes with color it’s just too real and can’t take you there so easily and it makes things more pure. You can see eyes and ears in a totally different way, so you really see them. You see shadows and contrasts and shapes because those are the things you end up working with. You don’t see such a real picture which you glance over without a second thought. In black and white you really start to see things. It seems to make things in a way more powerful—it’s removing you from reality. — 1985

Béla Tarr: I love black and white. When you see a black-and-white picture, you know immediately it is not a realistic picture. It is not reality ‘one to one,’ because something is somehow transformed. On the other hand, I can hide a lot of things in the blackness, and I can picture white light for something which is important. I can use the whole gray scale. — 2012

Ingmar Bergman: In black and white, you have that wonderful chance to create, and have the audience to create together with you… I would like most of all if it would be possible to work in black and white, because I think black and white is the most beautiful color that exists for our minds, for our creative minds. We are involved in the creative process when we are looking at a black and white picture. — 1981


"I loved the cinema always, and I loved to go watch movies. But what I saw there was just stupid lies and fake stories. I never saw life and I never saw anything about the people I knew. I never saw real passion, I never saw real emotions, or real camerawork. I never saw a real movie. I thought, if they cannot show me, then I have to do my movie. […] The problem is that most films follow the same pattern: action, cut, action, cut. They only watch the story line. But story is not only about human actions, everything can be a story. A man waiting at a corner can be a story. There are many things that are important in real life but that filmmakers find boring. I don’t think that these things are boring. In my films, I want to be closer to life than to cinema."
Béla TarrBorn July 21, 1955

"I loved the cinema always, and I loved to go watch movies. But what I saw there was just stupid lies and fake stories. I never saw life and I never saw anything about the people I knew. I never saw real passion, I never saw real emotions, or real camerawork. I never saw a real movie. I thought, if they cannot show me, then I have to do my movie. […] The problem is that most films follow the same pattern: action, cut, action, cut. They only watch the story line. But story is not only about human actions, everything can be a story. A man waiting at a corner can be a story. There are many things that are important in real life but that filmmakers find boring. I don’t think that these things are boring. In my films, I want to be closer to life than to cinema."

Béla Tarr
Born July 21, 1955

Bela TarrIconsBéla Tarr

The Films of Béla Tarr

Family Nest | The Outsider | The Prefab People | Almanac of Fall | Damnation | Sátántangó | Werckmeister Harmonies | The Man from London | The Turin Horse

"I don’t care about stories. I never did. Every story is the same. We have no new stories. We’re just repeating the same ones. I really don’t think, when you do a movie that you have to think about the story. The film isn’t the story. It’s mostly picture, sound, a lot of emotions. The stories are just covering something. With Damnation, for example, if you’re a Hollywood studio professional, you could tell this story in 20 minutes. It’s simple. Why did I take so long? Because I didn’t want to show you the story. I wanted to show this man’s life.”
Béla Tarr (born July 21, 1955)

"I don’t care about stories. I never did. Every story is the same. We have no new stories. We’re just repeating the same ones. I really don’t think, when you do a movie that you have to think about the story. The film isn’t the story. It’s mostly picture, sound, a lot of emotions. The stories are just covering something. With Damnation, for example, if you’re a Hollywood studio professional, you could tell this story in 20 minutes. It’s simple. Why did I take so long? Because I didn’t want to show you the story. I wanted to show this man’s life.”

Béla Tarr (born July 21, 1955)

Béla TarrFilmIconsBela Tarr