Italy / Yugoslavia, 1976 (MIFF 1976)
Director: Miklós Jancsó
Elektreia, Miklos Jancso's reconstruction of the Greek drama, was shown at last year's Melbourne festival in a retrospective season of his films. His latest film has been shot in Yugoslavia, not, as most of his feature films were, in Hungary. This time, he has written the script himself.
The Dauphin, heir to the throne, lives at a castle on a vast estate. The Duke and Sophia, friends of the Dauphin, arrive to stay with him. They come from the country's capital, where they unsuccessfully conspired to otherthrow the Emperor. Their fellow conspirators have already been arrested and they expect to be taken at any moment. A General arrives, not to arrest them, but to inform the Dauphin that his father demands his presence in the capital city. It is not clear why the son has been summoned, and he rejects his father's order. The Duke, Sophia, and the heir to the throne surround themselves with a strange collection of people: circus acrobats, dancers, young aristocrats. The atmosphere at the castle becomes charged with sexual excitement and defiant decadence. They have rebelled against the customs and conventions of the Fathers, and they see themselves as the guardians of what they describe as 'harmonious chaos'.
Then over the fairy-tale castle, the fog rolls in. Slowly the guests disappear. The Dauphin and a few of his friends wait, while outside, soldiers arrive and camp on the lawns of the castle. They also wait. Inside the castle, the remaining revellers drink and celebrate what they hope will be a sensational trial. Then the General arrives and joins his soldiers.