Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Csend és kiáltás

Miklós Jancsó’s Csend és kiáltás (int’l title: Silence and Cry) is a film that takes some time to warm to: even if you knew the Hungarian history. However, more than the Hungarian history, if you knew the Hungarian landscape, you will eventually not only appreciate the film but also love it: watching the film brought to me several memories of little scenes I had almost forgotten, even if my memories of Hungary are not too old by any means. Nature plays a large role in this film: the desolate-looking land also reflects the country’s hopeless political climate, and the sterile lives of all the protagonists of the film.
The Hungary of today is not so very different: even if there are not secret police everywhere, life is still marked by the same barrenness, and the same bleak landscape foretells everything.

There is hardly anything left for me to say after this fine entry here: http://filmjournal.net/kinoblog/2008/03/18/silence-and-cry/

However, I do wonder whether Jancsó has left lots of untied ends in his film as a deliberate measure, in a way of saying that tying or untying them does not matter, or is it a matter of loose direction; it’s difficult to say this for me, especially since I don’t have access to all Jancsó’s films preceding and succeeding this particular film. I did dislike the ending of the film, however: it was difficult to imagine for me that István did not know about the poisoning before. I would have also liked to see some kind of exchange between István and Károly, the former being the adored one of the two women and the latter the scorned one. Probably there is no exchange worth a name, since István is completely indifferent about Károly: but why should an idealist who prides himself over being one be so utterly heartless to all that Károly has to go through because of him? And if he’s not an idealist in the real sense, then why would he go and do the final act? Or is István merely a tool in the hands of the two women, who exploit his need to hide, while István in turn also sees them in the same light and hence feels a latent brotherhood with the farmer Károly, even if feeling him not enough a rebel? In that case, why does István not kill the women in the final act, which would also inevitably lead to his denunciation?

These are questions that are not really resolved satisfactorily in this ménage-à-quatre story (or should I say cinq, considering that Kémeri does get some sort of satisfaction by knowing he has the women - and István, since the possibility of Kémeri and István being former lovers cannot be ruled out - in his power), a story of power struggles all round; however, the cinematography and the overall fluidity of the story bound in a rigid plot make anyway for an enriching viewing.

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