Honorary Award of the Academy President and Board for Béla Tarr

    On the occasion of the 36th European Film Awards on 9 December, the legendary director Béla Tarr will be presented with the Honorary Award of the Academy President and Board. With this award the European Film Academy wishes to pay special tribute to an outstanding director and a personality with a strong political voice, who is not only deeply respected by his colleagues but also celebrated by audiences world-wide. Béla Tarr is the sixth filmmaker to receive this recognition – earlier recipients were Manoel de Oliveira, Michel Piccoli, Sir Michael Caine, Andrzej Wajda and Costa-Gavras. 

    Born in Hungary, Béla Tarr started first amateur experiments in filmmaking at the age of 16. His feature debut came in 1979 with FAMILY NEST which immediately won the Grand Prix at the Mannheim Film Festival. In 1982, THE PREFAB PEOPLE received a special mention in Locarno. This was followed by the chamber drama ALMANAC OF FALL (1984) and by DAMNATION, which was nominated for the first European Film Awards (1988).  

    One of Tarr’s most well-known films is SÁTÁNTANGÓ, a 450-minute adaptation of the novel by László Krasznahorkai, featured in the Berlinale’s Forum section 1994 where it won the Caligari award. The film also won the Grand Prix of the Jury at the Budapest Hungarian Film Week and quickly reached cult status, often referred to as one of the most important films of the 1990s. It also exemplifies quite well Béla Tarr’s unique style, his films following their own rhythm, taking time in long black and white shots. 

    In the year 2000, WERCKMEISTER HARMONIAK won the Grand Prize at the Hungarian Film Week, THE MAN FROM LONDON, an adaptation of “L’Homme de Londres” by Georges Simenon and with performances by Miroslav Krobot and Tilda Swinton, ran in competition in Cannes in 2007. Two years earlier, the festival had celebrated Tarr as “Foreign Cineaste of the Year”.  

    His 2011 feature film THE TURIN HORSE received the Jury Grand Prix Silver Bear and FIPRESCI Award in Berlin and was nominated for the European Film Awards.  

    Béla Tarr is the honorary president of the Hungarian Filmmakers’ Association and a member of the Széchenyi Academy of Letters and Arts. He has been given the most prestigious Hungarian prize for artists, the Kossuth Prize, and the Hungarian prize for filmmakers, the Balázs Béla Prize. He was named a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres and was honoured with several remarkable national and international awards, honorary doctorates, and life achievement awards.  

    Early on, Béla Tarr supported the Sarajevo Film Festival (founded in 1995). In 2013, he founded a film school, known as ‘film.factory’, in Sarajevo and moved there in 2016. 

    Béla Tarr will be a guest of honour at the awards ceremony on 9 December in Berlin to accept his award. The ceremony will be streamed live on 

    The ceremony of the European Film Awards – the most renowned and prestigious award for European film is presented by the European Film Academy and European Film Academy Productions.