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Seasons of Monsters
(Szornyek Evadja)

Screening on Film
Directed by Miklós Jancsó.
With György Cserhalmi, Ferenc Kallai, Jozsef Madaras.
Hungary, 1987, 35mm, color, 88 min.
Hungarian with English subtitles.
Print source: HFA

Renowned for the extraordinarily fluid, ornate, and highly stylized virtuosity of his camerawork, Miklós Jancsó repeatedly applies his formal preoccupations to the creation of what might be called dialectical "musicals." The subjects are frequently the same: parables on the theme of tyranny and revolution, betrayal and resistance, power and corruption. Admittedly difficult to absorb in a single viewing, the sheer dream-like construction and visual audacity of Season of Monsters richly rewards the open viewer. The film contains two story fragments: the first concerns an émigré professor who commits suicide after returning to Hungary and his former classmate, a physician who is called to the scene; the second focuses on a bizarre birthday celebration the physician attends. Jancsó uses different cinematic discourses—realistic and non-realistic—to articulate the story fragments, creating a complicated, puzzling vision of impending doom.

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