Kinoeye: New perspectives on European film

Vol 3
Issue 3
17 Feb

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Images of power and
the power of images:

The films of Miklós Jancsó

Of all the film directors neglected by the mainstream of film history, Miklós Jancsó has, perhaps, unfairly suffered the most. In this two-part special focus, Kinoeye seeks to expand the limited understanding of this remarkable director.

Part I: Overview and the 1960s and 70s

Miklos Jancso's Szegenylegenyek (The Round-Up, 1965)EDITORIAL
Miklós who?
A round-up of Miklós Jancsó's career

Jancsó is a giant of world cinema, yet his works are rarely seen and much of his oeuvre languishes in total obscurity. Andrew James Horton introduces Kinoeye's special focus on Jancsó with an overview of the director's stylistic and thematic development.

Miklos Jancso, Feb 2003 (photo: Andrew James Horton)This silly profession
Miklós Jancsó interviewed

Jancsó is often perceived of as a very "Hungarian" director, with a love of history and a dislike for montage. The octagenarian director tells Andrew James Horton about his Romanian roots and affinities with Jewish culture, why he gave up on history 20 years ago only to come back to it in his latest film and the reason he no longer uses long takes.

Miklos Jancso's Kovek uzenete (Message of Stones, 1994)The rooster is crowing
"Jewish themes" in Jancsó's films

Jancsó's recurring interest in Jewish culture is one aspect of his work that has consistently been overlooked by critics—including Hungarian ones. György Báron reflects on the director's hitherto unrecognised obsession.

Miklos Janco's Csillagosok katonak (The Red and the White, 1967)Two men against history
A comparative look at
Andrzej Wajda and Jancsó

Hungary and Poland, to a large degree, have parallel and interlocking histories. Krzysztof Rucinski looks at how the two film masters of these nations have presented the past and themes of oppression in their early masterpieces.

Miklos Jancso's Egi barany (Agnus Dei, 1970)The aura of history
Jancsó's depictions of the year 1919

Jancsó's films are frequently set in obscure moments of the past, such as 1919, suggesting a degree in European history is needed to understand their context. Andrew James Horton argues that Jancsó is really not that interested in the past at all and merely uses it as a backdrop for timeless and mythic struggles.

Miklos Jancso's Vizi privati, pubbliche virtu (Private Vices, Public Virtues, 1975)Private truths, public lies
Jancsó's Vizi privati, pubbliche virtú
(Private Vices, Public Virtues, 1975)

Vizi privati, along with other Jancsó films made in Italy, has either been ignored or derided. Rolland Man argues that this is not just a "naughty" film but a compelling analysis of how rebels without a cause are doomed to fail.

Miklos Jancso's Szerelmem, Elektra (Elektreia, 1974)The denial of oppression
Three Hungarian works by
Jancsó from the 1970s

Jancsó's Hungarian films of the 70s continued the extreme stylisation that had featured in his previous work but moved further away from naturalism and realism. Peter Hames undertakes a detailed analysis of three of them.

Read on...

Images of power and the power of images:
The films of Miklós Jancsó

The editors would like to thank: George Clark, Katalin Vajda (Magyar filmunió) and Iván Forgács (Hungarian Film Archive / Moveast)

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