Miklos Jancsó was born in 1921 in Vac, Hungary. His mother Angela Poparada was Romanian and his father Sandor Jancsó Hungarian. Jancsó received a degree in Law from the University of Cluj-Napoca in 1944. After fighting in WWII and a brief period as a POW, he chose to join the Film and Theater Academy in Budapest, and graduated with a diploma in Film Directing in 1950. His fifth feature film The Round-Up (1966) was a huge hit domestically and internationally and is often considered a significant work of world cinema. Hungarian film critic Zoltan Fabri called it "perhaps the best Hungarian film ever made." Film critic Derek Malcolm included the film in his list of the 100 greatest films ever made. In Hungary, it was seen by over a million people (in a country with a population of 10 million). His next film The Red and the White (1967) became Jancsó's biggest success internationally. It won for example the 'Best Foreign Film' award from the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics. In his following films he developed a personal style of historical analysis using complex camera movements, dance and popular songs, creating his own cinematic style he called "political musical". The long takes became a trademark of Jancsó, so for example the 80-minute long Winter Wind (1969) consists of only 12 shots. Jancsó received the 'Best Director' award at the Cannes Film Festival 1972 for the film Red Psalm (1972). During the 1970s, Jancsó divided his time between Italy and Hungary and made a number of films in Italy, the best known of which is Private Vices, Public Virtues (1976). At that time, his films Hungarian Rhapsody (1979) and Allegro barbaro (1979) were the most expensive to have been produced in Hungary, but the critical reaction was muted. Jancsó was awarded the Career Golden Lion at the Venice Film festival in 1990. After little success and a long break Jancsó returned with The Lord's Lantern in Budapest (1998), which proved to a be a surprising comeback for the director. This success led to a succession of 5 more Pepe (Zoltán Mucsi) and Kapa (Péter Scherer) films, the last in 2006. Jancsó also cemented his reputation by making appearances in a number of films, for example as himself in his Pepe and Kapa films and in guest roles in works by up-and-coming Hungarian directors. Jancsó died of lung cancer on 31 January 2014, aged 92. Fellow Hungarian director Béla Tarr called Jancsó "the greatest Hungarian film director of all time" and acknowledged Jancsó's influence on his own work.
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