THE LAND OF THE ANGELS (1963) [Feature]

Hungary (MIFF 1964 )
Director: György Révész

The film is set in Hungary in the slums of Pest in pre World War I, at a time when the power of the Austrian empire was already in decline, and the revolutionary movement which was to culminate in Bela Kun wis already operating under cover.

"The Land of the Angels" is a slum district where the inhabitants live a close-knit life in which good humour, squalor, pathos and bathos are inextiicably intermingled. The story tells — in almost Brechtian manner, to the iccompanying chorus of an old ballad singer — of a spontaneous rent strike which grows amongst the inhabitants of a huge tenement in the area and which leads to a tragic climax before peace is restored. Both the acting and direction (particulirly in the love scenes) have a lyrical quality which contrasts strangely with the grim incidents portrayed. The film his real technical virtuosity ; every scene, shot and cut is calculated with precision and yet, with all this technical brio, one is still persuaded of the film's authentic human values.

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