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PRIVATE VICES AND PUBLIC VIRTUES

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.

See also...

THE TYRANT'S HEART

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 ... More »

Immortality

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

THE ROUND-UP

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 »

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 »

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 »

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