Silence and Cry

A commander tells a young soldier to climb a snowy hill, then orders another soldier to shoot him in the back; a military man demands that an elderly civilian slap a woman in the face, then does it himself. Barking dogs, figures hidden in darkened rooms, innocents entrapped while soldiers circle and maneuver: such is Jancsó's portrait of life under a police state, ostensibly set in 1919 after the defeat of a doomed communist republic, but suggestive of many other places and times. On the desolate Hungarian plains, a hunted survivor hides in a colleague's village; his restlessness extends not only to the desire for freedom, but to the love of another man's wife. Here the outdoors becomes a stage, and every human, whether hero or villain, doomed; a final gunshot proves, however, that rebellion is still possible. British critic John Russell Taylor called Silence and Cry “one of Jancsó's masterpieces-perhaps even his best film of all-and totally unlike anything else in the cinema.”

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