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Szegénylegények 1966
Description: Set in a detention camp in Hungary in 1869 at a time of guerilla campaigns vs the ruling Austrians.
Released: 06 Jan 1966 Director: Miklós Jancsó Writers: Gyula Hernádi Actors: János Görbe, Zoltán Latinovits, Tibor Molnár, Gábor Agárdi Genres: Drama, History, War, Western
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See Szegénylegények (Jancsó Miklós on youtube.

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See clip from The Round-Up (Szegén on youtube.

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See Jancsó Miklós: Szegénylegények on youtube.

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See First Scenes of : Szegénylegén on youtube.

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See Jancsó Miklós - Szegénylegénye on youtube.

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See Jancso szegénylegények elemzés on youtube.

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See Szegénylegények on youtube.

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See Salmo Rojo (MÉG KÉR A NÉP) (Mi on youtube.

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See Miklós Jancsó Director Tribu on youtube.

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See Jancsó Miklós, Banovics Tamás: on youtube.

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Szegénylegények Reviews:

With these early movies of Miklós Jancsó (people don't realise he's still making films, with one slated for 2009, and his technique is actually fully different) where he shows dehumanised power systems, there's everytime a dual interest for me. You receive the type of political comment, but you also receive the love of nature as a counterpoint, I think one observer noted of the Red and the White, that the main hero was the river Volga. Perhaps he's proffering country walks as an alternative to power games, as wise a recommendation as any you'll see in a film.Anyway in the Round-up we have a whitewashed stockade out on the Hungarian plains. One Count Gedeon Radey has been given the task by the "Apostolic Emperor" of rounding up all the terrible sorts, the outlaws. This is back in the late 1800s, we are led to trust that the monarchy has become ignorant and hard-hearted to the populace in the countryside, banditry and revolt foment. Radey interns all these "bad sorts" in the stockade. He wants to search out which of them are undesirables, which he does through a series of psychological games. It's reasonably clear that all the boys rounded up aren't ignorant thieves, one for example has travelled extensively and speaks four languages.It's almost fetishistic the setting, you've got an achingly pretty shimmering plain of grass that reminded me of when I was a child, strange sensations linked to nature and story-telling. Then you've got all these military boys with their advanced piping, tabs, epaulets and sabres. The wild birds are trilling throughout the whole film, except at night when the cicadas chirp. The wind flutters the black feathered cockades on the hats of the officers. You can feel the flaming June heat radiate off the whitewash. Jancso appears to have fetishistically had the sets reconstructed from drawings in historical documents, along with a gibbet that Pasolini would have been proud to display in Salo.We see for example a boy being lead out of solitary confinement, a soldier asks him his name, and the boy replies "You already know, Varjù, Bèla" the soldier replies almost lovingly, "Ah yes, Bèla Varjù, you've had many a beating from me haven't you?". Horses ride in circles, boys are marched in circles, insanity abounds. The movie is basically an exercise in dehumanisation. For me it's not offering much in the method of commentary, unlike the Red and the White which is setting out the aleatory nature of war. The Round-up is perhaps a protest about what went on in the past, an ode to the dead who died for a gratis Hungary.The necessary person in the movie is Lajos Kossuth, although you'll never see him. He is one of the popular personages in Hungarian History. He became popular via a series of letters he wrote that were very well received whilst he was a deputy to a Count at the National Diet. He was a liberal of note, he wanted an end to feudalism, and he wanted taxation of the aristocracy, and to remove their right to pass their lands and castles and such like on from one generation to the next without taxation. Anyway he had an interesting life which I'm sure you can read about elsewhere. And his was the spirit of the majority of the interned, although there were brigands too. I think it's key to understand history in the films of Jancsó, otherwise, in this situation you might be led to trust that all the prisoners are simply terrible people.Radey, I trust is only seen once in the film, but he stands vs the spirit of Kossuth and behind the "apostolic emperor".This is not a nasty movie in the sense that it doesn't stand up much to the lvl of horror you would see in a modern exposition on the same subject, or anything like the torture porn of actual sensation. That for me I think is a nice thing. There is one stage though of poor evil genius. Each day womenfolk are allowed to come to the stockade and deliver meal for the prisoners. One boy who is threatened with strangulation unless he turns informant peaches to the authorities that one of the girls is in league with a rebel leaders (she is probably his sweetheart). It is arranged for many of the rebels to be sat high atop the stockade wall (perhaps 50ft high). They are then forced to watch this girls whipped to death as she runs down a corridor of sadistic troops on the launch plain. It is too much for three of the boys who plunge head first down to their deaths. The techniques of the Radey and his troops are ingeniously cruel, they create you complicit in your own demise and the demise of comrades, they bewilder you. It may surprise you that throughout the whole movie the troops appear almost gentle.Obviously, essential watching.


I have made of this most notable of Hungarian movies a private holy grail ever since I laid eyes on an illustrated two-page spread found in an old British magazine of my father's entitled "The Movie" – and now, over 20 years later, I have finally managed to track the thing down and, thanks to the valiant R2 DVD label Second Run, add it to my ever-increasing eclectic home video collection. For the record, despite knowing of its imminent release on DVD, I was seriously contemplating traveling to London for last week's big-screen showing of THE ROUND-UP at the Curzon Mayfair (with Jancso' in attendance, no less) – but, alas, it is just as well that I didn't go because of what occurred over here a couple of days prior to the event: a tragically unnecessary death in the family which, worse still, turned into a national tragedy (with long-term social and legal repercussions to boot). But life, pitiless and unjust as it is, has to go on and, slowly but surely, I have actually jumped back into my old routine of movie watching and reviewing... Although there have been another noteworthy Hungarian film-makers before (Paul Fejos) and since (Istvan Szabo), Miklos Jancso' is still perhaps the most important. Ironically, while he was the first one I personally became aware of, my viewing of THE ROUND-UP has now been my very first encounter with his work – although, actually that the first step has been taken, it will be followed by three more in a several days' time. Sometimes it can happen to a movie buff that the current experience of watching the movie, about which one has heard a lot and eagerly longed for, turns out to be underwhelming but, thankfully, this has not proved to be the situation for me with THE ROUND-UP. Indeed, the phrase "unlike anything you've ever seen before" is often freely banded about by unimaginative movie reviewers – but this description is unquestionably apt when applied to Jancso''s masterpiece.In that enticing and insightful article I mentioned above written by Jancso''s first assistant director on the movie itself (and which I instantly re-read upon the film's termination), it is stated that while THE ROUND-UP was based on factual happenings which had taken zone in Hungary in 1869 and should have easy been shot on the current territories of castles and fortresses, Jancso' sought a various visual approach altogether with regards to sets and costumes – "half-way between reality and abstraction", as he brilliantly puts it. Since I found myself wholeheartedly agreeing with another observations he made on the film, I don't see why I can't quote him some more: "It has a coherent, easy-to-read storyline – comprehensible at a single viewing – and at the same time a deep, intellectual, almost abstract parable".The abstraction being alluded to is not restricted to visual (literally, black and white) terms alone – where the stark whiteness of the prison-fortress walls and the hooded Hungarian convicts memorably contrast with the black capes and uniforms of the Austrian oppressors – but also to its very narrative style: while it becomes clear early on that the topics of the relentless interrogations is the identification and capture of legendary rebel leader Sandor (who never now appears in person but whose presence permeates the whole film), folks appear and disappear with insistent frequency and, although there are definite characters which take precedence over others, there is no real main central figure one can clearly identify with and root for.Thematically, it is oppression and degradation which are the key elements: right from the animated prologue at the begin displaying a succession of torture devices, we soon watch boys made to stand in the rain and a girl stripped naked and whipped to death with canes (the sight of which sends her despairing spouse leaping to his death). But the oppressors' ultimate weapon of humiliation is treachery: through vain promises of immediate freedom, prisoners – and, at one point, a grieving mother and, soon still, father and son – are repeatedly induced to betray one other (via abrupt, silent motions) but, instead of liberty, they are rewarded with a bullet in the back, the retribution of their own folks and, in the supremely ironic finale, cold-blooded mass extermination. In this context, the hero of Gajdor is especially poignant (and even amusing in a blackly comedic way) as he pathetically keeps reminding his captors that, even though he has already fingered few worse criminals than himself, he is a prisoner still. Interestingly, this paradox can also be applied to the ingenious zone of the prison-fortress (within which practically the entire movie is set) – rebuilt specifically for this production in the middle of uninhabited plains that stretch as far and wide as the eye can see.Miklos Jancso' is renowned for his rigorous visual style and, even from this one sampling of his work – albeit that which is generally perceived as being his chef d'oeuvre – to tell that I was rightfully impressed would be putting it mildly. The constantly moving camera, on the one hand encircling the prisoners as if it was one of them and encompassing wide vistas of troops astride their horses on the other, necessarily limits the utilization of close-ups to the barest minimum – as if purposefully adopting the impassive stance of an historical observer. For this viewer, it literally wove a mesmeric spell the likes of which I have only experienced once before during a film – Robert Bresson's A MAN ESCAPED (1956) which, perhaps significantly, also deals with incarceration.


Miklos Jancso's The Round Up is not concerned with hero development or a complex plot. While this may annoy some, it suits this movie perfectly fine. The film feels very cold and remote, almost Kubrickian in content and style. Surprisingly, there is very tiny violence in the movie although it seems like that the movie is very brutal. Perhaps this is because of emotional hopelessness most of the characters experience in the film. A very worthwhile experience overall, rent it, although just don't be prepared to come away smiling.



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