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 »
Rudolf is a good-natured pan-sexual golden boy, who cavorts on his rural estate with a host of beautiful, aristocratic lovers and friends of both sexes. He refuses to leave his country ... See full summary »
Alegory of the suppression of the 1919 revolution and the advent of fascism in Hungary; in the countryside, a unit of the revolutionary army spares the life of father Vargha, a fanatical ... 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 »
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 »
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.
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 »
After the "Battle of Valle Giulia" in the historic year of 1968, the film director Pasolini famously declared that he had more sympathy with the police than the protesting students, as the police were the children of the poor, and the students the children of the middle and upper classes. There is an implied reference to this at the start of La Pacifista, a plea from a generation of radical students who wanted to not be dismissed just because of the privileges of their upbringing.
There are radical groups from the right and the left in the movie. In between them is "La Pacifista", Barbara, played by the glorious Monica Vitti, who just wants to be an earth mother, in love with everyone. A right wing group of youths plan malfeasance against her. They come off as a fairly tribal group, fascinated with ritual, degenerating into a death cult.
I haven't been able to find much written about the movie, it seems that it has been ignored or found confusing (or indeed confused), and the overall impression is generally negative. It's definitely challenging and ambitious, and it feels like you have to go some to suspend disbelief. The movie presents a partially choreographed version of reality, a technique that goes full blown a couple of years later with Janco's Red Psalm; this is very visually appealing, although it's very hard to pin down why it's being done, except that it definitely reinforces the tribal nature of some of what is going on.
The most ambitious technique is to voice the thoughts of some of the characters via narration. It is a lot easier to make actions believable than it is to make thoughts believable. Sometimes I was not exactly clear which character's thoughts were being narrated, due to the tableau focus of some of the camera work. One of the right wing revolutionaries for example seems to have some concerns about his girlfriend being Jewish, or ex girlfriend, and how that conflicts with his ideology, but which one? Much of the movie focuses on Monica Vitti, who portrays a journalist covering the demonstrations. We hear a lot of her character's thoughts. It's difficult to sometimes tell what is going on there, because it often sounds like two characters, and this could be two sides of herself, or it could be that she is having a dialogue with her imagination of her mother or another relative or friend.
The revolutionary events of the movie seem very alien to her, and in fact the movie seems to become quite feminist, because she as a woman is generally ignored or seen as hysterical.
In the end I think the main message of the film is that you can't ignore fascists, you have to fight against them, pacifism is not an option. This seems rather tagged on by the final few scenes of the film, and a rather factional message in this particular case, given how useless and imploding the fascist group seems. Generally it's a very messy film and I can see why it has been dismissed. It is however a good looking and ambitious movie so I give it points for that.
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