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Hungarian Masters [3 Blu-rays] Three films by Zoltán Fábri, István Gaál and Miklós Jancsó

Merry-Go-Round (Körhinta, 1955)        Current (Sodrásban, 1963)       Agnus Dei (Égi bárány, 1970)


Merry-Go-Round (Körhinta)
Zoltán Fábri's beloved film is considered one of the finest in all of Hungarian cinema. A love story set against the rural backdrop of communist farming collectives, a young girl (the great Mari Törocsik in her film debut) falls for farm worker Máté, but is betrothed by her domineering father to another man.
This pastoral take on Romeo and Juliet is a rich and achingly beautiful work, framed by the turbulent changes in society taking place at that time.

Current (Sodrásban)
A group of young friends on the cusp of adulthood decide to spend one last idyllic day together by the river before they depart for jobs and university. When one of them goes missing, a frantic search begins - and recriminations ensue.
Often cited as the first film of the Hungarian New Wave, István Gaál’s haunting existential drama contemplates the transience of youth and the impermanence of memory. Echoing Antonioni’s L'Avventura and Kurosawa’s Rashomon, Current is a powerful and lyrical work that serves as a lament for a generation.

Agnus Dei (Égi bárány)
Miklós Jancsó’s symbolic re-enactment of Hungary’s 1919 revolution and counter-revolution is another virtuoso display of cinematic skill and artistry, turning history into theatre. The film explores political upheaval, oppression and the complicity of the Church, in this refined, complex allegory of the rise of fascism in Hungary. The dazzling Agnus Dei marks a transition from Jancsó’s more traditional narrative films of the 1960s, to the more experimental and provocative works of the 1970s.


Theatrical Release: February 2nd, 1956 - April 22nd, 1971

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Review: Second Run - Region FREE - Blu-ray

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Distribution Second Run - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Merry-Go-Round: 1:35:30.375

Current: 1:25:42.458

Agnus Dei: 1:28:01.250



1.37:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 38,297,867,528 bytes

Feature: 27,586,412,544 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.96 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


1.85:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,506,920,053 bytes

Feature: 18,061,541,376 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.97 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Agnus Dei :

1.66:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,387,554,220 bytes

Feature: 18,544,521,216 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.97 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Merry-Go-Round Blu-ray:

Bitrate Current Blu-ray:

Bitrate Agnus Dei  Blu-ray:


LPCM Audio Hungarian 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Second Run


Edition Details:

• An archival interview with Miklós Jancsó (1987) (9:23)
Appreciation by Gareth Evans (16:34)
• Award-winning Hungarian filmmaker István Szabó on the influence and cinematic legacy of Zoltán Fábri (11:19)
Tisza - Autumn Sketches (Tisza - Oszi vázlatok, 1962): István Gaál’s acclaimed short film observing autumn descend along the river Tisza (17:43)
• Merry-Go-Round 1955 screen tests (19:08)
• A film on the restoration of Merry-Go-Round (9:57)
• Trailers (2:26 / 1:22)
Individual booklets with new writing on each film by writers and curators John Cunningham, Peter Hames and Tony Rayns

Blu-ray Release Date:
December 13th, 2021
Transparent Blu-ray Case inside box

Chapters 12 / 12 / 12




NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Second Run Blu-ray (December 2021): Second Run have transferred three films; by directors Zoltán Fábri, István Gaál and Miklós Jancsó to Blu-ray and is entitled 'Hungarian Masters'. The films are Merry-Go-Round (Körhinta, 1955), Current (Sodrásban, 1963) and Agnus Dei (Égi bárány, 1970) are on separate Blu-rays. These are all from new 4K restorations by the National Film Institute Hungary – Film Archive. "The digital restoration of the film took place within the framework of the Hungarian National Film Fund - Hungarian National Film Archive "Long-term film restoration program of the Hungarian film heritage". The 1.37:1 Merry-Go-Round shows some rounded corners and nice thick textures while close-ups can be fairly crisp and appealing. Depth is occasionally evident on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate. The 1.85:1 Current has the best visuals with cinematography by Sándor Sára. It has tight pleasing detail and wonderful layered contrast. It's a beautiful film that frequently looks gorgeous in 1080P. The third film, Agnus Dei, is in color, 1.66:1, and it was shot with a very kinetic camera - always moving displaying characters in-motion and a panorama of the forest and countryside. 

NOTE: We have added 100 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Second Run use linear PCM dual-mono tracks (16-bit) in the original Hungarian language. There are effects - the fair ground in Merry-Go-Round gun shots in Agnus Dei etc. and they come through effective but authentically flat via the lossless. There are credited scores by György Ránki on Merry-Go-Round, plus Girolamo Frescobaldi + András Szöllösy in Current. Audio has no glaring imperfections that I noted and dialogue comes through clean and reasonably consistent. Second Run offer optional English subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray.

The Second Run Blu-rays offer some wonderful extras include a 10-minute archival interview with Miklós Jancsó from 1987, an excellent 1/4 hour appreciation by Gareth Evans for Current (Sodrásban), 10-minutes with award-winning Hungarian filmmaker István Szabó on the influence and cinematic legacy of Zoltán Fábri; Tisza - Autumn Sketches (Tisza - Oszi vázlatok) IsIstván Gaál’s acclaimed short film observing autumn descend along the river Tisza from 1962 and runs shy of 18-minutes. There are 20-minutes worth of Merry-Go-Round screen tests from 1955 as well as a 10-minute piece on the restoration of that film. Lastly, are two trailers and the package has individual booklets with new writing on each film by writers and curators John Cunningham, Peter Hames and Tony Rayns.

Second Run's 'Hungarian Masters' is an absolute gem. I loved 1955's Merry-Go-Round (Körhinta), and especially István Gaál's poetic 1963 Current (Sodrásban) while Agnus Dei (Égi bárány) from 1970 reminded me of Jancsó's The Red and the White - a brutal documentation of war with deep political allegories that will always be relevant. Second Run's Blu-ray package should be very notable in our year-end poll as one of the top boxsets released in 2021. These are masterwork films and it gets our highest recommendation!

Gary Tooze


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Agnus Dei







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Distribution Second Run - Region FREE - Blu-ray



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