Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Magyar Rapszódia * *

This one of Miklós Jancso's works dealing with the relationships between the classes in pre-revolutionary Hungary. You've never heard of this director, I'm positive. But here's what some film critic said about him: "Jancsó is a giant of world cinema, yet his works are rarely seen and much of his oeuvre languishes in total obscurity." (here). This film, Hungarian Rhapsody is set in 1911, and follows Istvan, a nobleman who joins ranks with the peasants in opposition to the ruling class in general, and his statesman brother in particular. It's highly symbolic (it felt like a weird, over-serious play). Lots of dancing, singing, on plains with nude women dancing around for no apparent reason. I often couldn't figure out what it was symbolic of, however. One thing I can say is that the filmmaking is quite different than anything you'll see today -- quite stylized. Here's a long artsy analysis of this film (here). I couldn't make sense of the analysis, either. Boy, you know you're lost when you can't even make sense of a film review.

Why on earth did I watch this film? Well, it has Gyorgy Cserhalmi in it, and I'm trying to see his films. His performance here, was...well...I think he's improved a lot with age. Why am I giving it 2 stars? First, it is not because I think you should ever see this film. But there was something bizarely compelling about it to me. I'm glad I saw it.

This is tricky to get a hold of. Buy it from Amazon although it might not be in stock. also lists it but as Hungarian Rhapsody, although again it might not be in stock. Scarecrow Video has it for rent.

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