Elemér Ragályi is a Hungarian cinematographer. He has won Best Cinematography at Kinoshok, Montréal, Minsk, as well as an Emmy. Credited with superb 35mm lensing on Giorgi Ovashvili's Corn Island, Ragályi's latest project, 1945, premiered at this year's Berlinale.
FLMTQ's Filmmaker Questionnaire derives from the Proust Questionnaire, designed to ascertain the thoughts and habits of filmmakers across disciplines.
What are five of your top films, and why?
ER: Difficult question! There are not five, but five hundred. It's a constant cycle.
Most powerful film you've seen this year?
ER: Son of Saul, without a doubt.
Favorite film you've seen this year?
ER: Also Son of Saul.
Your favorite film festival to attend?
ER: Personally, I hate film festivals. Meeting snobs, socialites, and marketing— sorry, but I want nothing to do with it.
In Europe, Cannes dictates. Berlinale and Karlovy Vary are excellent as well.
What region would you say has put out a consistent body of work in the past years?
ER: Definitely Hungary. Year by year, we create more exciting projects.
Who are you most excited to see make their second film?
ER: László Nemes.
Your favorite place to shoot a film, and why?
ER: I have no favorite place to shoot a film, it's not a honeymoon. I shot a movie which had took place in a prison cell. It was great.
What do you consider the most important trait in a director?
ER: The director has to have VISION!
What do you consider the most important trait in a cinematographer?
ER: It's complex. Imagination, sense of composition, knowledge of lighting, ability to express oneself verbally as well, ability to work together with the crew. Ability to compromises, etc. etc.
What are your main faults?
ER: I'm too pushy!
What is your idea of happiness?
ER: To continue what I've been doing since 1968.
What is your idea of misery?
ER: You won't find 'misery' in my vocabulary.
If you could have a different profession, what would it be?
Which talent would you most like to have?
ER: To play the piano.