In 1919, Hungarian Communists aid the Bolsheviks' defeat of Czarists, the Whites. Near the Volga, a monastery and a field hospital are held by one side then the other. Captives are executed... See full summary »
In Hungary, the national movement led by Kossuth has been crushed and the Austrian hegemony re-established, but partisans carry on with violent actions. In order to root out the guerilla, ... See full summary »
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 »
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 ... See full summary »
Three women, all strangers to each other, meet in a dress boutique. One of the three is approached by the male proprietor as she is shoplifting a garment. When he approaches her the other ... See full summary »
It is 1947; the Communist Party has just taken power in Hungary. In Jancsó's first color film, young students at a People's College have a debate with seminary students, but worry it will escalate into a fight.
The Red Psalm is an almost unapproachable film these days; the filmmaking practises of today have made us western viewers forget how to watch films that are not made to entertain.
The Story is simple enough: the Red Psalm depicts the rise and fall of a peasant revolt in the earliest days of socialism. The focus is on the reasons why it doesn't succeed, rather than on characters and plot. In fact, to use words like "character" and "plot" in connection to the Red Psalm would be misguiding.
This is an example of a film where message dictates the cinematic language of the film. It is not meant to be a realistic depiction of the living conditions of the peasants in the late 19th century. Instead it tries to depict realistically the reasons and causes of such tragedies in general. The film is full of what some people would call "gaffes", but they are there just because it does not matter if the actor has his wristwatch on or whether the guitar has nylon strings. That kind of authenticity is only superficial.
All in all, The Red Psalm is an ultimately challenging viewing recommended for everyone who is looking for alternatives to Hollywood pap. It demands the attention of the viewer throughout, because it is not generic in any way. Yet it is not without its flaws. It is extremely slow paced, full of folk dancing and saturated with socialist propaganda. Yet features like Jancso's free flowing camera should interest at least wannabe filmmakers to this challenging and complex film.
29 of 51 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this