Sunday of Zen – János Kis – Hungary

It was a unique occasion to shoot this experimental short film and capture a moment from a shy and suspicious dove’s daily life. It took weeks to observe patiently the behaviors of the birds (titmouse, pigeons, doves, magpies) living nearby our apartment. They seek shelter in the trees and regularly are coming to visit us to get some food and water.

The everyday mundane sounds of the outdoor traffic, the passenger trains in the background all part of our rush of everyday life. We should stop for even short moments despite pressure from powerful forces around us trying to persuade us to take other paths. One day we all will be able to hear the chirping birds and understand the Zen of life.

Director Biography – János Kis

János Kis is a Hungarian avant-garde filmmaker, photographer.
He studied sociology at Janus Pannonius University of Pécs and cinematography at School of Hungarian Society of Cinematographers in Budapest.

He has been living in several countries for half of his life but more than a decade he is based in Cambodia. His photography work is focusing on critical social issues as landmine victims, children with congenital disorders, homelessness, asylum seekers, migrant workers and refugees as a filmmaker he makes the passing time slow and noticeable while focusing on the unpredictability of everyday life.

Kis is emphasizing the story of his projects to use minimalism; long shots, no or limited camera movement. He prefers to use pure natural light, low light, original recorded sounds from the location (if possible), paying attention to diegetic outside the frame sounds.

As an avant-garde filmmaker re-evaluates the non-narrative forms of experimental cinema, notedly the Observational Contemporary Contemplative Cinema (slow cinema), capturing the unpredictable occasions of everyday life. Opens up a space for theoretical reconsideration on under-explored aspects of temporarily and beyond, drawing attention to C.G.Jung Synchronicity theory.

Kis is usually uses only one extreme long take. His films begin with scenes where no particular action has already started. Most of the time the story line is based on observation and not even known advance what exactly going to happen in the next frame. He uses the extended time to create the story’s real time structural frames which creates the story’s beginning, middle and end, though he states that he’s “just a messenger” and only delivering the message as visual postcards about time and timelessness from different geographical locations.

As a filmmaker Janos Kis was influenced by Chantal Akerman, Jonas Mekas, Stan Brakhage, Michael Snow, Abbas Kiarostami, Yasujiro Ozu, Tsai Ming Liang, Hou Hshiao Hsien, Bela Tarr, Andrei Tarkovsky, Theodor Angelopoulos, Wong Kar Wai, Tran Anh Hung.

Director Statement

Recognizing the beauty and the beast of life often we have to slow down and find our inner peace. We all need some rest to connect our past with the present before continuing our journey towards our future.

Wondering why the title of my film is Sunday of Zen? Yasajiro Ozu died on Sunday and here the “Sunday” represents “Ozu”.

The film is a homage to Abbas Kiarostami.

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