"If you're a nice person, you shouldn't make films" | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 18, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 18, 2012

"If you're a nice person, you shouldn't make films"

-- Victor Kossakovsky at Tareque Masud Master's Class


Victor Kossakovsky speaks at the class. Photo: Mumit M.

“What happens when someone sees himself in the mirror for the first time?” -- questioned Russian filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky at the Tareque Masud Master's Class. In the short film “Svyato” this is what happens. Kossakovsky's two-year-old son is exposed to his own reflection for the first time, since Kossakovsky banned all mirrors at his home, only to capture this very moment on film. It's a magic moment when the child, alternatively shocked and pleased, looks at himself, combing through his hair or hitting the strange person behind the glass wall. It's an unrepeatable moment -- for the filmmaker and the child.
Victor Kossakovsky was the featured 'Master' at the first Tareque Masud Master's Class Series held at The Daily Star Centre in Dhaka on January 16. The Berlin-based Russian is a world-renowned documentary filmmaker whose latest film “Vivan las antipodas!” opened last years Venice Film Festival.
Kossakovsky compared filmmaking to love: “I'm trying to do something that makes you love me and the movie. If that happens, it is true cinema.”
In a lively debate, Kossakovsky talked about what drives him to make films: “I simply have to make films in order to survive. It's like an illness; a feeling that you have to film certain things or you will die.” He encouraged the participants to find their very own method and to practise every day, especially by observing the daily life. “You have to hone your skills,” he said. “Even the world's best piano players practise for hours. A filmmaker should also do so.”
But according to the Master, filmmaking is not everyone's business. “If you're a nice person, you shouldn't make films. If you film an evil man, you'll have to show him in his elements. A genuinely nice person won't be able to do this.”
The event was held in memory of the director Tareque Masud who died last year. “With him, we lost our guardian,” said Tanvir Hossein, an assistant director, attending the class. “His death has put meaningful Bangladeshi cinema in a critical situation. But with this meeting we have the opportunity to find new ways together and we might be able to define where the path is taking us.”
According to Kamar Ahmad Simon, one of the organisers, “There is no limitation, everyone can participate in the Master's Class. We believe that diversity is very important and a difference can be made. We have to try to avoid stereotypes.”
For Rafiqul Anowar Russel, the class has changed the way he thought a film should be made: “By watching Victor Kossakovsky's films, I learnt a different way of making documentaries. Kossakovsky only follows the characters, he never seems to intervene. I never saw anything like this before.”
As a conclusion, Kossakovsky encouraged the participants to train their eyes every day. “So that you can see the world in your very own way, so that you realise who you really are.” Just like Kossakovsky's son, when at the end of the film, his father explains to him who he sees in the mirror is himself.
The programme was organised by BEGINNING Production with media partners The Daily Star; Shomoy Sangbad; ABC Radio; bdnews24.com; American International University Bangladesh (AIUB); The Guide Tours Ltd and Iris Technology.

The author is an intern at The Daily Star.

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