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RED PSALM

Hungary (MIFF 1975, Miklós Jancsó Retrospective)

Director: Miklós Jancsó

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 rights for the first time, spend their time singing and dancing while they await the outcome of their protest. The steward of the estate attempts to bribe them, and shows them richly laid tables and highly stacked sacks of wheat. At the same time, the police move in around them. At a signal by the bailiff, the wheat is set on fire, to teach the peasants a lesson; but the fire turns into a stake on which the bailiff is burnt. Soldiers arrive, and a young cadet is handed a pistol and ordered to open fire. He refuses and is shot, but a wounded girl kisses him and he revives. The workers try to enlist the support of the soldiers in the common cause against oppression, but the landowners intervene. Count Majlath appeals to mutual national interest in a patronizing speech, and one of the workers replies from the revolutionary manifesto. Then a priest attempts to drive out the spirit of rebellion with exorcizing prayers, but he is driven away with whips, and the church is set on fire.

Unexpectedly, the tension breaks down and the people dance around a maypole. The soldiers mingle with the crowd, then suddenly the trumpets ring out. The soldiers surround the peasants and open fire, but one woman, the angel of revenge, remains outside the circle.

Red Psalm continues the themes and stylization from Miklds Jancsd's earlier films, Confrontation and Agnus Dei.

See also...

SILENCE AND CRY

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 ... More »

THE CONFRONTATION

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 »

MY WAY HOME

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 »

CANTATA

A young surgeon feels his life has come to an impasse. The deeply humane feelings of an elder colleague make apparent to him the emptiness of his own existence. He recognizes that his concern for ... More »

ELEKTREIA

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 »

SILENCE AND CRY

After the first Communist revolution in Hungary in 1919, soldiers of the Red Army are in hiding from government patrols. One of them is sheltered by a farmer who is suspicious of him. His wife and ... More »

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