In Jancso's abstract panorama of early 20th century Hungarian history, we get history as a theater of allusive gestures, human beings as symbolic codas, emotion as symphonic ritual. The idea, as I see it, is have every element of the story mingle in the background as theater, and bring to the foreground this or that image, now a woman holding a rose, now couples dancing, now wandering in the mist.
So as the camera roams around, it can catch glimpses of something purer than life. Scenes of courting, socialist sermon to peasants, ballroom dances, horse gymnastics, defeat and lossmore stylized than real and coexisting as continuous reality. The plot is always vague, background distant news. It may be that an army officer is dying and conjures what we see, his two loves, dancing and war failure.
It is interesting, to be sure. Instead of clean historic sweeps, hazy unfolding impressions.
It is something like Greenaway in constructing a theatric abstraction, and Tarkovsky in trusting an intuition for images guide you from the theatric abstraction, to abstract insides of life. It's a beautiful film.
But for whatever reason, this particular solution to narrative doesn't work for me. Whereas Tarkovsky is ecstatic, this bores me to tears, there is no passage inside. It misses some emotional connection, that will let you ford into the river of impressions. So I'd rather have this as history than Spielberg's clean, but as something transformative? Which it plainly desires to be, transcendent. It is a ritual, but only the outside image of dancers.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?