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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 »
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 »
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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 title alone is (almost) enough to recommend the film, but perhaps only a native Hungarian could make sense out of its meandering, improvised mock narrative: an elusive, intellectual jigsaw puzzle involving several unidentified characters, a few murders, a mysterious powder-blue Volkswagen Bug, and many strategically placed video monitors. Like many Eastern Bloc features hoping to circumvent the censors the film is heavily stylized to no real purpose (or perhaps to hide a lack of such), with lots of symbolic tableaux, repetitive action, and portentous dialogue. But the camera-work is so immaculate and each shot so smoothly choreographed that the film at least commands attention (if not respect), even while it so casually eludes comprehension. Call it, at best, a challenging, even playful mystery, but too oblique and infuriating to qualify as entertainment.
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