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Hungary, 1981 (MIFF 1982)

Director: Miklós Jancsó

The elliptical/emblematic/symbolic films of Miklos Jancso have always exerted a fascination for festival-goers. His latest film again employs the techniques he has developed — elaborately stylized drama, long tracking shots and the representation of myth and Hungarian history, often together.

His latest film, sub-titled Boccaccio in Hungary, is set in the 15th Century. It concerns Gaspar Guthi, who went to Italy as a child and,as a consequence, has no recollections of his family. He accepts an invitation from his Uncle Karoly to return to his native Hungary, bringing with him his Italian actor friends.

He learns from his uncle that his father died on the occasion of a hunt — mangled to death by a bear — but that the version told to everyone is that he was killed in a battle against the Turks. His mother. Katalin. after her husband's death, lost her hearing and her speech. He learns from the Archbishop, his uncle on his mother's side, that he has been recalled to Hungary because there is an intention to elect him King of Hungary.

This forms only the background to events that are symbolically unravelled. What is best in Jancso is not so much his plots and themes (inevitably they concern power and liberation) but the balletic and trance-like forms with which he presents them, images of mass choreography between camera, places and people.

See also...


This film was made by Miklds Jancso in 1964. before his early masterpiece, The Round-up; and he has said that My Way Home is autobiographical in feeling, if not in fact. It is set in the spring of ... More »


The action of the film takes place in the years after the collapse of the 1848 Revolution against the Hapsburgs. Its anti-heroes are a group of impoverished Hungarian peasants who, after defeat ... More »


Agricultural labourers and peasants in Hungary have gone on strike sometime during the 1890's. They are opposed, with increasing violence, by the military. The labourers, who are fighting for their ... More »


Elektreia is based on a play by Laszlo Gyurko that has been playing continuously in Budapest for the past five years. It is adapted from the Greek original, and Jancsd has freely changed the ... More »


This film was made in memory of the noted Hungarian sculptor, Gyorgy Goldmann. Award: Best Art-film, San Francisco Festival. ... More »


In The Controntation, Jancsd again deals with social and political problems of Hungarian history and revolution. The film is set in 1947, and the characters are the students in the people's colleges ... More »

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