In the final days of WWII, a seventeen-year-old boy wanders the countryside. He is captured by Soviet troops, then released, then captured once more - after he has donned a German uniform ... See full summary »
This film has been described as Jansco's first masterpiece. I would probably agree. The story concerns a 17yr old hungarian stranded in Russia at the end of the second world war, adrift after the collapse of the German army. He speaks a few words of German and no Russian. He seemingly feels nothing, and the film gives no easy explanations why. Like every other character in a Jansco film he seems completely overwhelmed by the scale of the landscape who finds himself wandering in almost antlike, almost always lost at the rear of a longshot. We never learn how close he is to hungary.
Eventually the film becomes a vivid and psychologically telling depiction of male friendship. In 1967 a story of friendship between a Russian and a hungarian after WW2 is an incredibly political subject,yet Jansco affects a kind of delightful innocence in this section and never lets his symbolism overwhelm his characters. What could have been over-reaching and didactic emerges as more of a chamber piece. I don't know how Jansco ever got away with making these kinds of movies in a soviet country.
My only caveat is that Jansco's most significant theme, political violence and its random nature, is partly explored in this film but in a way completely superficial and unaffecting compared to the terrible catharsis of films like "The round up" and "the red and the white".
Overall, a gem
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