“Who Will Sing Folk Songs?”: The Film Musical in Nine Variations
New Restoration

Red Psalm, like all great films, raises more questions than it answers … Strange as it may seem, Red Psalm [also] qualifies as a musical, and might encourage a (long overdue) revision of concepts of that genre.”

Raymond Durgnat, Rouge

Miklos Jancsó won Best Director honours at Cannes for Red Psalm, one of his pinnacle achievements. The film recounts, in fervid, balletic, and bloody fashion, a farm workers’ rebellion on a large Hungarian estate in the late 19th century. Jancsó’s incessantly moving camera captures the drama with kinetic and metaphoric force over a mere 28 shots, each demonstrating the director’s bold, rhythmic command of the expressive extended take. The workers’ endurance comes not from any plans or heroes we bear witness to, but rather the group’s song-accompanied movement on what becomes a contested battlefield—a constantly reshaping circle in contrast to the arrival of perpendicular marching lines. Selectively mic’d, and cyclically structured (with deaths and revivals and everything in between), Red Psalms formal approach is married to its politics; if a musical is made of anything, Jancsó suggests, it is first built out of people’s voices.

In Hungarian with English subtitles

A dazzling open-air revolutionary pageant … As the Hungarian title suggests, one of Jancsó’s characteristic achievements is to create a striking continuum between past and present—a sense of immediacy about history that can be found in few other period films.”

Jonathan Rosenbaum
Media

Upcoming in this Series

  • Hole 2
  • The Hole
  • Taiwan/France1998
  • Tsai Ming-liang
  • 95 35mm
  • NR
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • Une Chambre Un Ville 3
  • Une chambre en ville
  • aka A Room in Town
  • France1982
  • Jacques Demy
  • 93 DCP
  • PG
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • Magical Substance Flows Into Me 1
  • A Magical Substance Flows into Me
  • Palestine/Germany/United Kingdom2016
  • Jumana Manna
  • 66 DCP
  • NR
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • West Indies 1
  • West Indies: The Fugitive Slaves of Liberty
  • West Indies, ou Les nègres marrons de la liberté
  • Algeria/Mauritania/France1979
  • Med Hondo
  • 116 DCP
  • PG
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • Disciple 1
  • The Disciple
  • India2020
  • Chaitanya Tamhane
  • 128 DCP
  • NR
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • Dancer In The Dark 1
  • Dancer in the Dark
  • Denmark/Sweden/France/Iceland2000
  • Lars Von Trier
  • 140 35mm
  • 14A
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • All About Lily Chou Chou 5
  • All About Lily Chou-Chou
  • リリイ・シュシュのすべて
  • Japan2001
  • Iwai Shunji
  • 146 DCP
  • NR
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • Red Psalm 2
  • Red Psalm
  • Még kér a nép
  • Hungary1971
  • Miklós Jancsó
  • 84 DCP
  • NR
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • Golden Eighties 10
  • Golden Eighties
  • Belgium/France/Switzerland1986
  • Chantal Akerman
  • 96 DCP
  • PG
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations