Director: Miklós Jancsó
This film completes a trilogy from Miklds Jancso that began with The Round-up and The Red and the White, it is set in 1919, a disturbing period after the fall of the Hungarian Republic of Councils, and the first communist revolution. The lonely farmsteads scattered over the Great Hungarian Plain are infested by ravaging gendarmes and informers, who are hunting down the soldiers from the revolutionary Red Army.
One of these men, Istvan, has taken refuge on a farm. The farmer, though, becomes suspicious. He has been under police surveillance himself, and he has already endured torture. It is his wife and sister-in-law who have given Istvan protection, and he is helped by a childhood connection with the commander of the local police. Both women love the soldier, and plan to dispose of the farmer. He tacitly concurs in his own death and takes the small doses of poison they mete out to him. But Istvan discovers the murder plan and refuses to become an accomplice. He goes to police headquarters to report the crime, even though this means his own arrest. The commander is no longer able to save him, but gives him a chance to commit suicide. But Istvan does not kill himself. . .