Kinoeye: New perspectives on European film

Vol 3
Issue 4
3 Mar

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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 II: 1981 onwards

From puszta to Pest

The first three essays in part II of this special focus all cover the same period of Jancsó's career, 1981 to 1991. Although the three authors (one Hungarian, one Czech and one Canadian) analyse these films in different ways, they all as recognise this as a rich and innovative stage in the director's filmography.

Miklos Jancso's A zsarnok szive, avagy Boccaccio Magyarorszagon (The Tyrant's Heart, 1981)The tyrant's waltz
Jancsó in the 1980s—first view

Jancsó's films made between 1981 and 1991 drew accusations of "self-parody" from critics at the time of their release. Graham Petrie reassesses four features made in this period of "punctured equilibrium."

Miklos Jancso's Szornyek evadja (Season of Monsters, 1986)Now's the time
to rot forever

Jancsó in the 1980s—second view

The start of the 1980s was a watershed in Jancsó's career, as he moved from the modern to the post-modern. Jaromír Blažejovský charts the director's progress from revolutionary optimism into ontological scepticism and authorial irony.

Miklos Jancso's Kovek uzenete (Message of Stones, 1994)Acquired uncertainty
Jancsó in the 1980s—third view

From 1981 onwards, Jancsó's films are characterised by a loss of structure. Gábor Gelencsér examines the order and chaos in Jancsó's art and how it affects the meaning of these works.

Five interviews

Kinoeye here presents five interviews with Jancsó and his collaborators, conducted in the mid-1980s by Graham Petrie. Apart from the one with Jancsó, they have not previously been published. Together, they are valuable insights into the director's working methods and the nature of the Hungarian film industry in the 80s, even though Törocsik and Nemeskürty do not speak exclusively about their work with Jancsó.

Miklos Jancso's Nekem lampast adott kezembe as Ur Pesten (The Lord's Lantern in Budapest, 1998)Hamlet in Wonderland
Jancsó's Nekem lámpást adott kezembe az Úr Pesten (The Lord's Lantern in Budapest, 1998)

Jancsó's career rebounded in the late 1990s with a work that won him instant recognition from the critics and found him a new, young audience. Andrew James Horton looks at the first of the films to feature Pepe and Kapa.

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