Screenwriter and director Miklós Jancsó (pronounced “yon-cho,” rhyming with “poncho”) was the creator of a unique film language centered around his mastery of the tracking shot. The first internationally recognized representative of modern Hungarian filmmaking, his extraordinary works examined oppressive authority and the mechanics of power. Kino Lorber is proud to present six of his classic features restored in 4K from their original camera negatives by the National Film Institute Hungary – Film Archive.
The Round-Up (1966) depicts a prison camp in the aftermath of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution. A true classic of world cinema. Miklós Jancsó’s most renowned work depicts a prison camp in the aftermath of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution. After the Hapsburg monarchy succeeds in suppressing Lajos Kossuth’s nationalist uprising, the army sets about arresting suspected guerillas, who are subject to torture and other mental trickery in an effort to extract information about highwayman Sándor Rózsa’s band of outlaws, still waging armed struggle against the Hapsburgs on the outside. Jancsó’s camera stays in constant, hypnotic motion, taking in the developing dynamics and antagonisms between the prisoners and their captors, meditating upon and exalting its characters’ resistance and perseverance in the face of brutal, authoritarian repression. A true classic of world cinema.
The Red and the White (1967) is a haunting, powerful film about the absurdity and evil of war set in Central Russia during the Civil War of 1918. A haunting, powerful film about the absurdity and evil of war. Set in Central Russia during the Civil War of 1918, The Red and The White details the murderous entanglements between Russia’s Red soldiers and the counter-revolutionary Whites in the hills along the Volga. The epic conflict moves with skillful speed from a deserted monastery to a riverbank hospital to a final, unforgettable hillside massacre.
The Red and The White is a moving visual feast where every inch of the Cinemascope frame is used to magnificent effect. With his brilliant use of exceptionally long takes, vast and unchanging landscapes and Tamas Somlo’s hypnotic black and white photography, Jancso gives the film the quality of a surreal nightmare. In the director’s uncompromising world, people lose all sense of identity and become hopeless pawns in the ultimate game of chance.
The Confrontation (1968) is a story of protest and rebellion set in 1947 Hungary when the Communist Party has just taken power.
Paralleling the dramatic student protests and riots that were exploding across the world in the 1960s at the time the film was made, The Confrontation is a story of protest and rebellion.
Set in 1947 Hungary when the Communist Party have just taken power, dancing, singing Communist students debate Catholic seminary students at a People’s college, all the while worrying their words will escalate into a fight.
Jancsó’s first color film is a virtuoso display by a director at the peak of his powers. The film eloquently explores the complex issues and inherent problems of revolutionary democracy and was set to compete in the famously canceled Cannes 1968.
Winter Wind (1969) consists of twelve fluid long takes that capture a mid-1930s group of Croatian anarchists. In the mid-1930s a group of Croatian anarchists led by the grim revolutionary ascetic Marko Lazar (played by the film’s French producer Jacques Charrier) escaped a bungled ambush in Yugoslavia crossing the dense forests at that country’s Northern border in an effort to seek refuge in Hungary.
Winter Wind consists largely of twelve fluid long takes, some as long as ten minutes, and each a completely mapped-out sequence. Jancsó’s interest is more geometric than geopolitical, eschewing the big picture historic story for micro-social behavior. In a series of sweeping motions, effectively communicating the abstract conflict between the idealist anarchists and reality.
Red Psalm (1971) follows a group of farm workers who go on strike in 1890s Hungary, for which Jancsó won the best director prize at Cannes. Electra, My Love (1974) is a richly inventive adaptation of the Greek myth that consists of 12 single take, intricately choreographed set pieces. Set on the Hungarian plains of the 1890s. When a group of farm workers goes on a strike, demanding basic rights from a landowner, they are met with soldiers on horseback, facing harsh reprisals and the reality of revolt, oppression, morality and violence.
Electra, My Love (1974) It has been fifteen years since the death of her father, Agamemnon, and Elektra, still burning with hatred towards his murderer, the tyrant Aegisztosz, attempts to rouse an apathetic population against the rule of this usurper.
A richly inventive adaptation of the two-thousand-year-old Greek myth. This searing exposé of oppression and the abuse of power resonates inescapably in twentieth-century Hungary, reflecting attitudes towards tyranny and dictatorship from the modern man’s perspective. Jancsó makes use of the play’s framework to make charges against the then-Russian rulership that continues to resonate today.