Monday, July 18, 2011

The Round-Up (1966)

The Round-Up / Szegénylegények (1966) (1966)
The Round-Up / Szegénylegények (1966)

Genre: Drama
Director: Miklós Jancsó
Starring: János Görbe, Zoltán Latinovits, Tibor Molnár, Gábor Agárdi, András Kozák
Duration: 90 min.
Rating: 8.4

In Hungary, the national movement led by Kossuth has been crushed and the Austrian hegemony re-established, but partisans carry on with violent actions. In order to root out the guerillas, the army rounds up suspects and jails them in an isolated fort. The authorities do not have the identity of the guerilla leaders, who are supposed to be present among the prisoners. However, they know enough about some of the suspects to apply perfidious forms of coercion effectively.

The Round-Up / Szegénylegények (1966) (1966)

The Round-Up is a Hungarian film directed by Miklós Jancsó.  The first of his films to receive international acclaim, it was screened in competition at the 1966 Cannes Film Festival.  It was selected by Hungarian critics in 2000 as one of the Budapest 12.

This is set in Hungary shortly following the failed 1848 Kossuth rebellion against Austria, and takes place in and around a prison compound housing common criminals, outlaws and rebels alike.  Where the Austrian military tries to ferret out the revolutionaries led by Sándor Rósza using various techniques of psychological coercion.

It employs an interesting unconventional narrative that treats its characters almost like disposable devices and keeps an underlying oppressive mood of constant terror and cold betrayal.  However because of this technique, it is difficult to connect emotionally to the film or really become invested in the fate of the characters. 

What makes this a notable film is the visual style, shot in Cinemascope black and white, and with incredible camera work that frequently uses meticulously choreographed long takes, wide angle vantage points, and zoom lenses.  Many of the scenes utilize people and horse riders in multiple formations and arrangements, occupying both the foreground and background, but all equally important to the scene.   Also you can really see some of the visual influence it had on later films particularly the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone.

The Round-Up is an important and influential work, a true visual masterpiece that is a must see for film buffs and historians.  But the lack of a standard story and character development will likely turn off most casual viewers.

The Round-Up / Szegénylegények (1966) (1966)

The Round-Up / Szegénylegények (1966) (1966)

The Round-Up / Szegénylegények (1966) (1966)

The Round-Up / Szegénylegények (1966) (1966)

The Round-Up / Szegénylegények (1966) (1966)

The Round-Up / Szegénylegények (1966) (1966)

The Round-Up / Szegénylegények (1966) (1966)

The Round-Up / Szegénylegények (1966) (1966)


Bonjour Tristesse said...

No worries.  I know this one doesn't appeal to a very wide demographic.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Thanks for the compliments.

I get a little from here and a little from there, whichever way I can.  Some bought, some begged, some borrowed and some stolen... 

Hoi-Ming Ng said...

Looks nice but I will pass

d_4 said...

I consider myself a casual viewer.  I still love art of all kinds, but I look for a little more in a movie, so I guess I won't be searching for it. 

Daniel said...

sounds nice, keep it up

The Angry Lurker said...

This sounds quite interesting and watchable.

FrontRoomCinema said...

Where do you find all these flick BT? Always showing me something I have never heard of. Brilliant. 

I love the images you use as well!!

Thanks for putting this together


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