Silence and Cry
- 1h 17m
Miklós Jancsó's Silence and Cry is set during a turbulent era of disquiet, fear, persecution and terror, which permeates every corner of post-WWI Hungarian society. In 1919, after just a few... Read allMiklós Jancsó's Silence and Cry is set during a turbulent era of disquiet, fear, persecution and terror, which permeates every corner of post-WWI Hungarian society. In 1919, after just a few months of communist rule the Hungarian Republic of Councils falls victim to a nationalist... Read allMiklós Jancsó's Silence and Cry is set during a turbulent era of disquiet, fear, persecution and terror, which permeates every corner of post-WWI Hungarian society. In 1919, after just a few months of communist rule the Hungarian Republic of Councils falls victim to a nationalist counter-revolution. Admiral Horthy, leader of the nationalist far right movement, becomes... Read all
This is a miserable film in the sense that it is clear that nothing good is ever going to come of events right from the start, and there is also more obvious sadism than in the other Jancsó movies I've seen.
One thing that I think severely disables Jancsó from being as recognised as I believe he should be is that you are really facing difficulties if you haven't understood the context of his films. As in fact to a great extent they are portraying particular episodes in Hungarian history rather than being decontextualised avant-gardism. In a more recent film of his, The Lord's Lantern in Budapest, the Hungarian cultural references are overflowing. So this sort of film will probably never make it out of Hungary, unless Hungary become the world's next hyperpower - unlikely.
The background to this film is a post-World War one setting where a short-lived communist government has been overrun by right-wing nationalists, aristocratic remnants, and secret police. Well the commies are actually the good guys here, which may be difficult for a state-side audience to comprehend. As in a country under the iron-fisted rules of Hapsburg types has a right to explode out into communism. Anyway, one of these freedom-fighters is on the run and takes refuge on a farm where he is looked after by two pretty young ladies. I am sure this is most enjoyable for him there, is much ultra-cultured of face-rubbing, unfortunately I don't know any ladies of this type.
When I say the commies are the goodies, Jancsó is more of a humanist than a commie, although I'm sure he was a good revolutionary too. Anyway this was a very difficult film for me to watch as I am really quite autistic and I need emotional cues to understand what is going on. This is why I can't digest Bresson. Also Miklós Jancsó really has divested the film here of any melodrama, which however I do appreciate to a certain extent, especially due to the subject matter. It's a slow-burn film whose emotional impact is most overwhelming to me now, an hour after watching.
We're shown a small population under the control of a military police force, the police chief here knows the freedom-fighter from many years ago and so is content to let him hide out. However other more hardcore forces are roaming the countryside checking up that people are loyally royalist. In that case István still has to maintain a very low profile.
So our idealist has to stay schtum. Which is a problem because the two ladies he is with are poisoning the husband of one of them, and his mother. This is very naughty of them.
Our idealist has a problem, should he report it to the authorities? By what authority do these authorities hold authority? The authorities will be forced to execute him if he reports it because he is a commie and will have to reveal this fact. It is a mind-boggling dilemma. And if Miklós had played it for any melodramatic potential, it would have been excruciating to watch.
One cannot be help but be humanised by Miklós Jancsó's films of this period once you see past the stylisation. It has occurred to me on a deep level tonight that not even Jancsó's supposedly one-note period, is actually one-note.
After the style of Round Up Jancso has a photo collage at the beginning of the film of military types in parades and such like, this is very humorous to me, he plays a silly pathetic childlike rendition of some doubtlessly military theme single-fingered on a piano over the top, just to show us what he think of those damned military-aristo types.
- Jan 4, 2009