Round Table dedicated to Miklós Jancsó

BFM — 34
BFM — 34
10 March
Bookshop – Piazza della Libertà – Bergamo

A round table dedicated to the protagonist of BFM 34 full retrospective will take place Thursday, March the 10th at the Bookshop in Piazza della Libertà.

Speakers: Zsuzsanna Csakany, Cecilia Ermini, Gabor Gelencser, Judit Pinter, Lorenzo Rossi, Silvana Silvestri, Gary Vanisian, Paolo Vecchi, Gloria Zerbinati.

Miklós Jancsó was born in Vác (Budapest) in 1921 to a Hungarian father and Romanian mother. His family was part of the minor nobility based in Transylvania, which used to be Hungarian territory but was then handed over to Romania after WWI. During the war, Jancsó studied law at university, but his real interest was devoted to ethnology and art history. After the war he became a leader of the United World College movement, whereby young intellectuals provided formative training for workers and farmers and spread the regime’s political culture. In 1947 he joined the Academy of Theatre and Film Arts, where he graduated in 1951. For over ten years he produced documentaries on request, and cultivated his passion for foreign cinema and authors such as Wajda and Antonioni. His first feature film was Oldás és kötes (Cantata, 1963), the story of a young surgeon who doubts his professional vocation as much as his personal choices. From 1964 to 1972 he directed many films in Hungary; in the early 1970s he started to work in Italian productions. Szegénylegények (The Round-Up, 1966) was an international success, making Jancsó a prominent figure of new Hungarian cinema. In Hungary he benefited from special working conditions: his notoriety allowed his works to be generously funded. At the same time, Jancsó reached a very personal style, rich in long, audacious camera moves, and in complex and somewhat sensual sequence shots, amalgamating in a spectacular way landscapes, choreographies, people, the brutality of power and the desire for freedom.Csend és kiáltás (Silence and Cry, 1968), Csillagosok, katonák (The Red and the White, 1967), Sirokkó (Winter Wind, 1969) eMég kér a nép (Red Psalm, 1972) are among his best known works. His main theme is history, although he did not follow the socialist-realist canons. The protagonist of his films is space itself. It may be the space represented by those huge plains where armies battled and the three-dimensional tale of history was told, whereby Hungarian history – from the 1867 declaration of independence to the Hungarian Soviet Republic, to the 1917 Bolshevik fight – is a symbol of all the changes that seemed possible to European eyes at the time. In the early 1970s he directed several films of Italian production, among which La pacifista/Smetti di piovere (The Pacifist, 1970), La tecnica e il rito (1974), Roma rivuole Cesare (Rome Wants Another Caesar, 1974), and the much-debated Vizi privati, pubbliche virtù (Private Vices, Public Pleasures, 1976), which turned the Mayerling tragedy into an Austro-Hungarian erotic-funereal ballet. Back to Hungary, at the end of the decade he produced other important works such as Magyar rapszódia (Hungarian Rhapsody, 1979), L’aube (Dawn, 1986), Szörnyekévadja (Season of Monsters, 1987), and he held a teaching position at Filmművészeti Főiskola Színházművészeti in Budapest, and – from 1990 to 1992 – at Harvard University. He was awarded the Golden Lion Honorary Award at Venice Film Festival in 1990. He died in 2014, aged 92.