Friday May 8th sees the release of Delta, a small film with big ideas about morality, love and family values. Indeed, those looking for something to counter-balance the big bangs and bucks of Star Trek would do well to seek out Delta, and you can read our review here. To celebrate its release Roll Credits speaks exclusively to screenwriter Yvette Biro, who co-wrote the film with director Kornel Mundruczo. You previously collaborated with Kornel Mundruczo on the 2005 film Johanna; what made you want to work with him again?
My collaboration with Kornel Mundruczo is rather special. I met him about six or seven years ago, [I] held a workshop at the Hungarian Film Academy and he was, for me, the most outstanding and brilliant participant. We discussed his Diploma film APHTA, his first prize winning short, and that started a substantial dialogue which has lasted up until today! Pleasant Days (2002), which won the Silver Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival, was a film in which our consultations were significant. And ever since we have been in close collaboration!
Where did you find the inspiration for Delta?
Delta has, unfortunately, a tragic history because of the sudden death of the [original’ leading actor [Lajos Bertok died suddenly in 2006]. When we decided, against all odds, to make the movie we knew that it had to be different. [It had to be] simpler [and] more transparent. What we wanted to emphasize in the new version [was] to what extent the otherness, the courage to live in a different way, elicits hostility, hatred and savage vengeance.
Delta is an extremely haunting film with minimal dialogue; what were the challenges of writing a screenplay where so much is said with so few words?
The almost lack of dialogue is a final result in order to suit the style of the deliberate austerity and minimalism of the film. When we started to flesh out the script, there was much more talk in it. But shaping, to me, always means condensing, simplifying and getting rid of that which is redundant. Cutting, cutting… The screenwriter participates not only the verbal aspect, but has to feel and imagine the entire sensuality of the situation. [It was] a wonderful challenge.
How do you personally see the relationship between brother and sister Mihail and Fauna, and is it difficult to write sensitively about such a taboo subject?
We obviously knew the ‘dangers’ of the taboo but wanted to fact it with all the sensitivity and inner reserve that these people experience it with. This is not a story of an irresistible, bodily attraction or passionate love affair but of relatedness, joining hands in a bigger dream far from the petty habits of the backward and hostile community. Therefore the building of a house, a true, comprehensive symbol of the dream of independence, got such a central role in the plot.
Did the story evolve through the shooting process?
We never have ironclad, unchangeable screenplays. Everything has to be mobile [and] malleable in order to feel the energy of the powerful environment; the mood, the colours, the sky, the water etc. The movie has followed its own nature, [and] changed in its details as is inevitable.
The actors enormous input got realized in the refinement of the small gestures, the subtle body language they have through the growing tension [between them]. And the [death] of Lajos Bertok profoundly modified the role of the young man. His character is fundamentally different, if not the opposite [of what it was originally].
Finally, what’s next for you and Kornel Mudruczo?
We are working on our next project, which is based on Mary Shelley’s famous Frankenstein novel but, of course, within contemporary circumstances. We’d like to focus on the responsibility of the creator regarding the unforeseeable consequences of his action.