Red Psalm

Jancsó won the Best Director prize at Cannes for this “awesome fusion of form with content and politics with poetry” (Jonathan Rosenbaum), which chronicles with almost ruthless sorrow a farmworkers' revolt and its inevitable suppression. Shot in only twenty-eight long takes, in vibrant color, Red Psalm moves between slaughter and song, spectacle and speech, as its camera darts among horses, houses, and a cast of hundreds: revolutionaries, soldiers, priests, and landowners. Filled with Hungarian folk songs and dances, Red Psalm is a tribute, plea, and fever dream of a collective utopia long since extinguished (“Long live the workers, long live the worker's society,” someone chants). This is “perhaps the most ecstatic fusion of political and formal radicalism in the forty years since Dovzhenko's Earth,” wrote J. Hoberman in Film Comment. For Rosenbaum, Red Psalm “may well be the greatest Hungarian film of the sixties and seventies.”

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