Miklós Jancsó

29.09.1921, Vac, Hungary - 31.01.2014, Budapest, Hungary


Director and screenwriter, studied Law in Pecs, graduating in 1944 in Romanian town of Cluj. He took art history and ethnography classes, which he continued studying in Transylvania. He did military service and took part in World War II, briefly as a prisoner of war. After the war ended, he enrolled in Academy of Drama and Film in Budapest, graduating in film directing in 1951. He got a job with television news studio, where from 1950 he directed many propaganda chronicles and journals on the development of socialism, and dozens of educational and cultural films. He had his directorial debut in 1958 with feature-length film The Bells have gone to Rome (A Harangok Rómába mentek). After that he made short documentaries for a while, working with his wife at the time, director Márta Mészáros. For his short film Immortality (Halhatatlanság) he won an award at San Francisco Festival in 1960. With two other directors he made a feature-length Three Stars (Három csillag) that same year, and he independently directed Cantata (Oldás és kötés, 1963). With this drama that discusses the relationship between the rural and the urban he draws attention to his work and started long-term screenwriting collaboration with Gyula Hernádi. After war drama My Way Home (Így jöttem, 1965) his film The Round-up (Szegénylegények, 1965) brings him huge success at home and internationally, which premiered in Cannes in 1996, placing him on the international stage. Even greater success comes with his anti-hero war film Stars on their Caps (Csillagosok, katonák, 1967) very well received with the international audience and critics, becoming one of his best known films. During his career, he often collaborated with director of photography János Kende, and their first project was Silence and Cry (Csend és kiáltás, 1967). He made his first film in colour The Confrontation (Fényes szelek) in 1968, using song and dance for the first time. In his later films he developed his own style which he named political musical, consisting of political analyses (he often used historical topics to address contemporary problems), complex camera movement, long-take shots, song and dance, and often rural setting. Historical drama Winter Wind (Sirokkó, 1969) he directed in only 12 shots. Another great success was achieved by drama Red Psalm (Még kér a nép, 1971) bringing him Best Director Award in Cannes. During the seventies he made a number of films in Italy or in collaboration with Italian producers. Some of those films are Private Vices, Public Pleasures (Vizi privati, pubbliche virtů, 1975). In Hungarian production he made Electra, my Love (Szerelmem, Elektra, 1974) and two parts of a trilogy, never completed due to bad reception with the critics, Hungarian Rhapsody (Magyar rapszódia, 1979) and Allegro barbaro (1979). In the eighties his films were not popular with the critics, although his work from the time is being reviewed today. With the film The Tyrant's Heart (A Zsarnok szíve, avagy Boccaccio Magyarországon, 1981) he slowly steps away from historical environments. He makes documentaries and works for television. The following feature film Dawn (L'aube) was made in 1985. In his drama Season of Monsters (Szörnyek évadja, 1987), for the first time in almost twenty years he films scenes of contemporary Budapest. He also made Jesus Christ's Horoscope (Jézus Krisztus horoszkópja, 1988), in the early 1990s God Walks Backwards (Isten hátrafelé megy, 1991.), and co-directs The Blue Danube Waltz (Kék Duna keringö, 1992). In the 1990s he turned to making documentary and short films. Only in 1999 he came back to feature-length with the exceptionally successful film Lord's Lantern in Budapest (Nekem Lampast Adott Kezembe Az Ur Pesten, 1999). In this film he worked with the new director of photography, Ferenc Grunwalsky, who is also the co-writer. Due to the popularity of the film, he made five more comedies with the same protagonists Pepe and Kapa, between 2000 and 2006. His last two films were So Much For Justice! (Oda az igazság, 2010) and Hungary 2011 (Magyarország 2011, 2012). In addition to film, he did theatre directing, receiving many awards, including the prestigious Hungarian Béla Balázs Award.


Hungary 2011 (Magyarország 2011, 2012)
So Much For Justice! (Oda az igazság, 2010)
Ede Ate My Lunch (2006)
Európából Európába (2004) (documentary omnibus, part 3)
Battle of Mohac (2004)
Wake Up, Mate, Don't You Sleep (2002)
Last Supper at the Arabian Gray Horse (2001)
Anyád! A szúnyogok (2000)
The Lord's Lantern in Budapest (1999)
Sír a madár (1998) (medium-length)
Játssz, Félix, játssz! (1997) (medium-length, documentary)
Hösök tere - régi búnk és... II (1997) (short)
Hösök tere - régi búnk és... I (1997) (short)
Szeressük egymást gyerekek! (1996) (omnibus, dio Anagy agyhalal)
Kövek üzenete - Budapest (1994) (medium-length, documentary)
A Kövek Üzenete - Hegyalja (1994) (medium-length, documentary)
A Kövek üzenete - Máramaros (1994) (medium-length, documentary)
The Blue Danube Waltz (Kék Duna keringö, 1992)
Isten hátrafelé megy (1991)
Jesus Christ's Horoscope (Jézus Krisztus horoszkópja, 1988)
Season of Monsters (Szörnyek évadja, 1987)
Dawn (L'aube, 1985)
Harmadik jelenlét (1986) (short, documentary)
Omega, Omega, Omega (1984) (TV, documentary)
Muzsika (1984) (TV, documentary)
Capitali culturali d'Europa (1983) (documentary TV series, 1 episode: Budapest, 1983)
Faustus doktor boldogságos pokoljárása (1982) (TV miniseries)
The Tyrant's Heart (A Zsarnok szíve, avagy Boccaccio Magyarországon, 1981)
Allegro barbaro (1979)
Hungarian Rhapsody (Magyar rapszódia, 1979)
Második jelenlét (1978) (short, documentary)
Laboratorio teatrale di Luca Ronconi (1977) (TV, documentary)
Private Vices, Public Pleasures (Vizi privati, pubbliche virtů, 1975)
Electra, my Love (Szerelmem, Elektra, 1974)
Rome Wants Another Caesar (Roma rivuole Cesare, 1974) (TV)
Technique and Rite (La tecnica e il rito, 1972) (TV)
Red Psalm (1971)
Lamb of God (1970)
Pacifistica (La pacifista, 1970)
Füst (1970) (short, documentary)
Winter Wind (Sirokkó, 1969)
The Confrontation (Fényes szelek, 1968)
Decameron '69 (1969) (omnibus)
Vörös május (1968) (short, documentary)
Silence and Cry (1967)
Stars on their Caps (1967)
The Round-up (1965)
Közelröl: a vér (1966) (short)
My Way Home (1965)
Jelenlét (1965) (short)
Cantata (Oldás és kötés, 1963)
Hej, te eleven fa... (1963) (short)
Alkonyok és hajnalok (1961) (short)
Az idö kereke (1961) (short)
Indiántörténet (1961) (documentary)
Three Stars (Három csillag, 1960) (co-director)
Az eladás müvészete (1960) (short, documentary, co-director)
Izotópok a gyógyászatban (1959) (short, documentary)
Immotality (Halhatatlanság, 1959) (short documentary)
The Bells have gone to Rome (A Harangok Rómába mentek, 1958)
Derkovits Gyula 1894-1934 (1958) (short, documentary)
In the Outskirts of the City (A Város peremén, 1957) (short, documentary)
Színfoltok Kínából (1957) (short, documentary)
Peking palotái (1957) (short, documentary)
Kína vendégei voltunk (1957) (short, documentary)
Dél-Kína tájain (1957) (short, documentary)
Móricz Zsigmond (1956) (short, documentary)
Varsói világifjúsági talákozó I-III (1955) (short, documentary)
Emlékezz, ifjúság! (1955) (short, documentary)
Egy délután Koppánymonostorban (1955) (short, documentary)
Angyalföldi fiatalok (1955) (short, documentary)
Jesen u Badasconyju (Ösz Badacsonyban, 1954) (short, documentary)
Egy kiállítás képei (1954) (short, documentary)
Galga mentén (1954) (short, documentary)
Emberek! Ne engedjétek! (1954) (short, documentary)
Éltetö Tisza-víz (1954) (short, documentary)
Közös után (1953) (short, documentary)
Arat az orosházi 'Dózsa' (1953) (short, documentary)
A 8. szabad május 1 (1952) (short, documentary)
A szovjet mezögazdasági küldöttek tanításai (1951) (short, documentary)
Kezünkbe vettük a béke ügyét (1950) (short, documentary)

Films by this director

The Hopeless Ones

(Szegénylegények, 1965)

Directed by: Miklós Jancsó

This drama is based on a true story about the capture and liquidation of Kossuths followers in 1848. After police tracked suspects, they arrested and submitted them to extreme psychological torture…This film was made in the manner of a modern documentary and was shown at the Cannes film festival in 1966, after which it achieved great international success.

b/w, 90 min

Red Psalm

(Még kér a nép, 1971)

Directed by: Miklós Jancsó

This film is a poetical portrayal of the peasants uprising at a Hungarian estate in 1890. The directors main concern is to explore the uprising’s motives and to question its morality and justification of violence… This is certainly Miklós Jancsos most famous film, for which he won an award at the Cannes film festival. An interesting fact about this film is that it was made in only 28 frames.

color, 88 min

Hungarian Rhapsody

(Magyar rapszódia, 1978)

Directed by: Miklós Jancsó

This story is told from the perspective of Istvan, the son of a wealthy estate owner. During WW I he is instrumental in defeating the army’s rebellion. After finding out that he was directly responsible for the death of several young soldiers, he decides to become a man of the people until the animosity toward him subsides. He joins the communists but realizes that he is worthless to them. During the 1920s and 1930s, his political views change as much as his unpredictable emotions…Th...

color, 101 min

Allegro barbaro


Directed by: Miklós Jancsó

Istvans story, begun in the film Hungarian Rhapsody, continues in this one. The first film ended shortly after the close of WW I, when Istvan questioned his loyalty to the social class of his father, a landowner, and began to support the peasants. At the beginning of this film, Istvan joins the peasants. As the story progresses, he realizes that he is headed in the opposite direction of his family and the social class he once belonged to… Hungarian Rhapsodyand Allegro barbaro were the...

color, 74 min

Lords Lantern in Budapest

(Nekem Lampast Adott Kezembe Az Ur Pesten, 1999)

Directed by: Miklós Jancsó
PHOTOGRAPHY: Ferenc Grunwalsky

The protagonists of this film are Kapa and Pepe, two gravediggers who spend their time sitting on a bench at the cemetery, making fun of the surrounding world. Simultaneously, they imagine themselves as bankers, lawyers, newly fledged rich men, bankrupt businessmen, thieves, and terrorists. One thing is certain - they are invincible... This is a highly appraised film by Miklós Jancso, shown at the Berlin film festival in 1999 (as part of the program under the title International Foru...

color, 107 min

Wake Up Mate, Don't You Sleep

(Kelj fel, komám, ne aludjál, 2002)

Directed by: Miklós Jancsó
PHOTOGRAPHY: Ferenc Grunwalsky

Pepe and Kapa are legendary characters from Jancsó’s four-parts film project started in 1999, as well as some other of his films. In this last part, the master of tragic grotesque, Jancsó, describes Hungary in the time of the WW II. This film showcases a broad variety of colorful characters. There are a Hungarian soldier, a Jew with the yellow star, a member of the SS who has run from the “Volk”, a Russian with a mouth harmonica, Jancsó himself in a small role, the screenwriter Hernádi, (in a ho...

color, 85 min

My Way Home

(Így jöttem, 1965.)

Directed by: Miklós Jancsó

The film is set in Hungary in the last days of World War II. Seventeen-year-old Joska is trying to return home while Russians and Germans are roaming the county in various directions. He is captured by the Red Army, but soon released. When he is captured again, they leave him in the care of equally young Russian Kolya, whose task is to take care of cows that give milk for the soldiers and wounded.

b/w, 35 mm, 108 min

Stars on their Caps

(Csillagosok, katonák, 1967.)

Directed by: Miklós Jancsó

Filmed in the Hungarian-Russian co-production, the film was originally commissioned to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the October Revolution in Russia when the Bolsheviks won power. Miklós Jancsó sets the story of the film two years later, in 1919, and shows the conflict of Red Bolsheviks and the Whites who supported the Emperor. Hungarian nationalists supported the Bolsheviks, but on the hills overlooking the River Volga where there's constant battle, it seems as though neither side has an ad...

b/w, 35 mm, 90 min

Silence and Cry

(Csend és kiáltás, Hungary, 1968)

Directed by: Miklós Jancsó

Priča o mađarskom građanskom ratu, odnosno slomu Mađarske Sovjetske Republike 1919. Nakon kontrarevolucije, admiral Miklós Horthy, vođa nacionalističkih, konzervativnih snaga, postaje samoproglašeni regent monarhije te uvodi vladavinu „bijelog terora“. Vojnici mađarske Crvene Armije daju se u bijeg, a jedan od njih, István Cserzi, utočište nalazi na farmi koju vode dvije žene. Nakon velikog međunarodnog uspjeha filma Golaći (1965), mađarski redatelj Mikl&...

b/w, DCP, 77'
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