THE PACIFIST (Miklós Jancsó, 1970)

From Italy, France and West Germany, and in the Italian language, Miklós Jancsó’s La pacifista revolves around Barbara, a journalist who becomes a target of the neo-fascist group she is covering. While it lacks the formal rigor of the filmmaker’s Hungarian masterpieces, it is a dazzling, enchanting piece of work, pulsatingly contemporary (circa 1970), increasingly […]

THE CONFRONTATION (Miklós Jancsó, 1968)

Responding to former-Allied reaction to the swift postwar Communist takeover of other east European countries, including Poland and Czechoslovakia, Soviet leader Stalin pressed for a “gradualist” approach in Hungary relying on leftist coalitions, including the nation’s Communist Party, in Hungarian elections. At the same time, the Soviet Union controlled the Hungarian police. Fényes szelek, alternatively […]

CANTATA [PROFANA] (Miklós Jancsó, 1963)

Miklós Jancsó, Hungary’s master formalist and greatest filmmaker, has said his cinema began in full earnest with Oldás és kötés (Solutions and Bandages), a.k.a. Contata profana, from a short story by József Lengyel. Like Otto Preminger, who passed over his half-dozen films preceding Laura (1944), Jancsó has passed over some thirty films that preceded this […]

WINTER WIND (Miklós Jancsó, 1969)

Croatian separatists, supported by Hungary, seek Croatia’s independence from Yugoslavia, a dictatorship. Shortly before the assassination of Yugoslavia’s Serbian King Alexander in Marseilles, France, Marko Lazar is among a band of these separatists. Téli sirokkó, or Sirokkó, or Sirocco d’hiver, by Hungary’s Miklós Jancsó, comes to us (in French, in the one version I’ve seen) […]

PRIVATE VICES[,] PUBLIC VIRTUES (Miklós Jancsó, 1976)

I have just added this entry to my list of the 100 greatest films from Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal, which you can find elsewhere in this blog. — Dennis Neil Burger’s The Illusionist (2006) is the thinnest, dullest, most inconsequential film to touch upon the “Mayerling affair”; Hungarian master filmmaker Miklós Jancsó’s Vizi privati, […]

ELEKTRA, MY LOVE (Miklós Jancsó, 1974)

Working from László Gyurkó’s play, Miklós Jancsó finds a folk use for the ancient Greek Oresteia myth in Szerelmem, Elektra: a representation of the Hungarian people and their historic suffering.      It has been fifteen years since the death of her father, Agamemnon, and Elektra (Mari Töröcsik, claiming yet another terrific role) still burns with hatred […]

MY WAY HOME (Miklós Jancsó, 1964)

From Hungary, Miklós Jancsó’s third film is concerned, as usual, with war. In the last days of the Second World War, a 17-year-old schoolboy is captured by Soviet troops, which are occupying Hungary. In the countryside, he is turned over to a same-age wounded soldier; together, alone, they are responsible for herding cows. Robbed of […]