Director: Miklós Jancsó
Actors: János Görbe, Zoltán Latinovits, Tibor Molnár
Runtime: 90 min
The year is 1869 in Hungary – the government has decided to deal with uncontrolled elements in order to stabilize the system. In an improvised prison which has elements of a concentration camp a large group of people is detained. Among them there are highwaymen, but also a group of Hungarian rebels (followers of Sándor Rózsa), and a lot of peasants. The Austrians do not know who is a robber, a rebel, or a peasant, and devise various forms of pressure, blackmail, psychological games, betrayal and cruel manipulation.
The movie observes all this from the side, remaining cold and distant, which allows us to understand the distance that the torturers, the Austrian soldiers and officers, have in relation to their victims, to the prisoners, and their humiliated mothers, wives and sisters who daily bring food for the prisoners.
The famous Hungarian director Miklós Jancsó builds, without many violent scenes, step by step, an agonizing story of dehumanization, ruthless repression and ice-cold cruelty of one essentially colonial system which decided to locate and destroy its opponents. And finally, in a superb twist, he shows that a political enemy is the greatest enemy.
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