Miklós Jancsó’s most renowned work depicts a prison camp in the aftermath of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution. After the Hapsburg monarchy succeeds in suppressing Lajos Kossuth's nationalist uprising, the army sets about arresting suspected guerillas, who are subject to torture and other mental trickery in an effort to extract information about highwayman Sándor Rózsa’s band of outlaws, still waging armed struggle against the Hapsburgs on the outside. Jancsó’s camera stays in constant, hypnotic motion, taking in the developing dynamics and antagonisms between the prisoners and their captors, meditating upon and exalting its characters’ resistance and perseverance in the face of brutal, authoritarian repression. A true classic of world cinema.
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