Friday, 16 December 2011
The Round-Up (Szegénylegények) 
Miklos Jancso was a key figure in the history of Hungarian cinema, yet quite sadly the Magyar filmmaker’s works remain relatively obscure outside a few closed circles. The Round-Up was the movie which earned him his biggest breakthrough internationally, albeit among arthouse aficionados. Based on a true incident that occurred as an aftermath to the 1848 Kossuth rebellion against the Austrian monarchy, the movie detailed the unconventional tactics employed by the authorities to weed out those who were part of the uprising and thus to crush the rebellion in the process. The entire movie takes place in an eerily sparse, maze-like prison located at the middle of nowhere, where a horde of suspects have been assembled and are subjected to a slew of cunning pressure tactics and psychological torture by the state police in order to filter out the members of the feared guerrilla outfit of the legendary Sandor Rozsa – who had attained a near-mythical status among both his loyal followers and his desperate opposition. The narrative alternates between the confines of the strangely-shaped prison and the seemingly infinite fields outside it, thus invoking a sense of claustrophobia and fleeting possibilities of freedom for the inmates. This relentlessly bleak, wildly unpredictably, and finely choreographed cat-and-mouse political drama can be engaging intellectually and perhaps even viscerally, but also emotionally draining for most viewers.
Director: Miklos Jancso
Genre: Drama/Political Drama/Psychological Drama