RED PSALM


Title   Cast   Director   Year Shown  Other Info    Country  Notes 


Meg Ker A Nep

Hungary , 88 min

Shown in 1972

CREDITS

dir
Miklos Jancsó
cam
Janos Kende
cast
Andrea Drahota, Lajos Balazsovits, Andros Balint, Jozsef Madaras, Gyongyi Buros

OTHER

prod co
Mafilm Studio
source
Hungarofilm, Bathoriutca 10, H-1054, Budapest, V. , Hungary, FAX: 1-153-1850
Red Psalm

Milos Jancsó’s newest film is, like The Red and the White, rooted in genuine events of Hungarian social history. At the end of the last century, Hungarian agricultural laborers demonstrated for the first time in an organized manner with mass harvesters’ strikes and a revolutionary movement developed among the peasants. These movements were eventually crushed by military intervention, with much bloodshed and suffering for the defeated. In Jancsó’s hands, this material is reworked into his own personal approach to history and visual symbolism, and Red Psalm is the most striking and lyrical of his films so far. It is like a strange folk tale in which peculiarly hypnotic dynamics of movement and the overwhelming merging of songs and dances all form a unique emotional response to the timeless antagonisms of youth against authority. For suddenly, with Jancsó, the defiant agriculturists are young people in a solidarity of brotherhood, their beautiful faces set in expressive alertness, dancing in the open plains, disdainful toward death. The dissidents are cajoled by bailiffs, soldiers, the young Count who represents the dying class system, but they all fail. The priests are turned away and, just as it seems that the youths will triumph, their feast of fertility is transformed by the soldiers (who have pretended to join them) into a feast of destruction. Red Psalm is a paean to courage, and to the uninitiated, the experience of a Jancsó film must be viewed and felt as a single reaction; this cinematic celebration exhorts its own jubilations and universal pleas for understanding between generations. The women in the film possess the most strength of purpose, for they are the lyric commanders in this political pastorale and a red-ribboned pistol is their talisman of victory. With these creatures, on a sunlit Hungarian plain, blood must bloom in a woman’s palm, and a dead soldier resurrect from her kiss.

—Albert Johnson

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