Miklós Jancsó

Miklós Jancsó – Égi bárány AKA Agnus Dei (1971)

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Alegory of the suppression of the 1919 revolution and the advent of fascism in Hungary; in the countryside, a unit of the revolutionary army spares the life of father Vargha, a fanatical priest. He comes back and leads massacres. A new force, represented by Feher, apparently avanges the people, but only to impose a different, more refined and effective kind of repression. Written by Francisco Baez Read More »

Miklós Jancsó – Roma rivuole Cesare AKA Rome Wants Another Caesar (1974)

Imdb User Review
To begin with, as I pointed out in my review for Jancso”s earlier ‘epic’ – the made-for-TV TECHNIQUE AND RITE (1971) – much of what constituted its pros and cons, from the heavy-going speechifying to the striking imagery, applies to this one as well. Nevertheless, it emerges to be somewhat more engaging – or, if you like, tolerable than that earlier effort; incidentally, while some sources give the film’s running-time as 100 minutes, the print I watched on Italian TV lasted for merely 78! Even so, we’re still treated to the random intimidation of several characters (shades also of Jancso”s masterpiece THE ROUND-UP [1965])…not to mention the baffling re-emergence of ones who had only moments before been shown expiring! Read More »

Miklós Jancsó – Csend és kiáltás AKA Silence and Cry (1968)

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Miklós Jancsó’s Silence and Cry is set during a turbulent era of disquiet, fear, persecution and terror, which permeates every corner of post-WWI Hungarian society. In 1919, after just a few months of communist rule the Hungarian Republic of Councils falls victim to a nationalist counter-revolution. Admiral Horthy, leader of the nationalist far right movement, becomes the self-proclaimed regent of Hungary, and assumes power as the legal Head of State. Soldiers of the short-lived Hungarian Red Army are now on the run from relentless secret policemen and patrol units of the nationalist Royal Gendarme. Read More »

Miklós Jancsó – A zsarnok szíve, avagy Boccaccio Magyarországon AKA The Tyrant’s Heart (1981)

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It is the 15th c. in Hungary. And young prince Gaspar (Laszlo Galffy) was sent off to Italy when he was just two years old, and now he has come back to his father’s castle as a grown man, with a troupe of actors in tow. Once arrived at the castle, he discovers his mother is in a kind of trance state, reportedly drinking the blood of virgins to keep her forever young (just like the infamous Bloody Lady Elizabeth Bathory). Gaspar’s father has died in very mysterious circumstances – some say it was a bear that killed him (another symbolical, legendary animal in European lore) and others say he was done in by the Turks. Meanwhile, his uncle says the trance-like queen was really in love with him – and sometimes he says not. Yet they marry, and when she comes out of her mesmerized state for awhile she tells Gaspar that just like his friends, none of the castle’s inhabitants are real, they are all actors and she is actually younger than he is – and then she falls back into her trance. As Gaspar seems to have nowhere to turn, a Turk comes into the picture to test him for his worthiness to rule, and says he (the Turk) is really Gaspar’s father. The tests turn out negative, and Gaspar is told he cannot be king. There seems to be no choice but to leave the castle with his troupe of actors, and as the castle opens up onto a vast field, he and his friends – and an underhanded Turkish priest – make a dash for freedom, hoping to elude the weaponry of the Turkish guards behind them. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide Read More »

Miklós Jancsó – La pacifista – Smetti di piovere AKA The Pacifist (1970)

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This highly symbolic and enigmatic political drama by Hungarian director Miklos Jancso was produced by a consortium from Italy, France and West Germany. This film is considered to be an homage to Antonioni as it uses his favorite leading actress (Monica Vitti) and his cameraman Carlo di Palma. This film was made during a time when Jancso was not allowed to make films in his native Hungary. In the middle of the crowd, while covering an Italian political protest by leftists, The Journalist (Monica Vitti), a pacifist, finds herself surrounded by a quite different group of people who jostle her, remove her recording equipment from her and set her car on fire. She complains to the police about this. However, when the police bring one of the young men before her for her to identify him, she says he is not one of her attackers. This leads to her having a romantic relationship with the young man. The group, and the young man, are young Italian neo-fascists, and the young man has been given the job of assassinating a leftist. He is too gentle to do this, and his group kills him right before The Journalist’s eyes. She goes to the police again, but they begin to believe that she is insane, even when she is forced to kill her boyfriend’s assailants right there in the police station. Read More »

Miklós Jancsó – Szörnyek évadja AKA Season of Monsters (1987)

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Zoltai (Andras Balint) is a Hungarian professor who returns home after a visit to the United States. Following a television interview, he commits suicide and leaves a note for his longtime friend Dr. Bardocz (Gyorgy Cserhalmi).The doctor and Zoltai’s colleague Komindi (Jozsef Madaras) join the police in investigating what drove the man to suicide in this surrealistic drama. Read More »

Miklós Jancsó – Oldás és kötés AKA Cantata (1963)

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Jancsó’s second feature film, received the Hungarian Critics’ Prize. In this work, influenced by Michelangelo Antonioni, Jancsó created the unique visual style by which he became known – the mesmerizing, sweeping, ballet-like camera movement, which emphasize the relation between the characters and the landscape, the vast Hungarian plain, around them. In considering the latter aspect, Jancsó’s cinematic world has connections with the traditional western, although not on the ideological level. Movement is for Jancsó both a guiding philosophical and aesthetical principle – “Is seems to me that life is a continual movement,” he once summarized. “It’s physical and it’s also philosophical: the contradiction is founded on movement, the movement of ideas, the movement of masses.” Read More »