THE TYRANT'S HEART (1981) [Feature]

Hungary (MIFF 1982 )
Director: Miklós Jancsó

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 stylized drama, long tracking shots and the
representation of myth and Hungarian history, often together.

His latest film, sub-titled Boccaccio in Hungary, is set in the 15th Century. It concerns Gaspar Guthi, who went to Italy as a child and,as a consequence, has no recollections of his family. He accepts an invitation from his Uncle Karoly to return to his native Hungary, bringing with him his Italian actor friends.

He learns from his uncle that his father died on the occasion of a hunt — mangled to death by a bear — but that the version told to everyone is that he was killed in a battle against the Turks. His mother. Katalin. after her husband's death, lost her hearing and her speech. He learns from the Archbishop, his uncle on his mother's side, that he has been recalled to Hungary because there is an intention to elect him King of Hungary.

This forms only the background to events that are symbolically unravelled. What is best in Jancso is not so much his plots and themes (inevitably they concern power and liberation) but the balletic and trance-like forms with which he presents them, images of mass choreography between camera, places and people.

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