Friday, March 23, 2012

Így jöttem

Jancsó’s stories seem to emerge from the vast, deserted landscapes he films them on: just as much as the spaghetti Westerns. However, in the case of the Westerns, men seem to be driven by the nature to lust and violence; in the Hungarian or East European landscapes of Jancsó, though, men and women seem to be the rightful inheritors of mad rushes for power and for meaningless liberty.

Így jöttem (English title: My Way Home) is a film that however focuses less on the intoxication of power and the consequent madness, than it does on the fragility of human relationships. With beautiful cinematographic movements and adding detail little by little, we get to understand - very slowly - the character of Jóska, so lovably played by András Kozák. It is a testament to the massive acting ability of Kozák that he could play two so diametrically opposite roles in Silence and Cry and My Way Home, even when there is no melodrama involved to distinguish between the two shades of men he is representing. For Jóska is gentle, seeking, not angry, forgiving and seeking to understand; he is yet a child and still he has the understanding of a valuable friendship and not to turn away his back on it. He is at once the rebel in not seeking safety, and at once the submissive docile who maybe even would like something to occupy his thoughts in a labour camp rather than being set free. Not the István that is angry and for whom justice is more principle than love, more idea than natural.

The film in its second half does become more or less the story of a friendship that does not need words between two men, and it’s a beautifully portrayed relation, a friendship that can exist only between men and that is as much comradeship as friendship (akin to what is seen in the landmark Hindi film Sholay). It’s a difficult art to build a story that has no real plot except the ordinary details of life: My Way Home does it through some beautiful shots and sequences, for example, when the two friends are out hunting the nude-bathing girls and are finally themselves the hunted ones. It’s one of the most beautiful sequences I’ve seen in cinema till now, rivalling all the best cheetah-chasing-deer shots of the National Geographic.

Another compelling film from Miklós Jancsó, because of its more warm nature and overall lack of tensions between characters, even if the intricacies of Hungarian politics during the War are a bit difficult to understand at first unless you knew them beforehand, this is one of the more accessible films from the European cinema.

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