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(aka "Még kér a nép" or "The People Still Ask" or "Psaume rouge" or "Röd Hymn" )

 

directed by Miklós Jancsó
Hungary 1972

 

Winner of the Best Director Prize at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival, Red Psalm is also one of the great Hungarian film director Miklos Jancsó's best-known films. Recounting the story of a peasant uprising in Hungary in the 1890s, the film examines the nature of revolt, and the issues of oppression, morality and violence. Shot using just 28 long takes, Red Psalm is an extraordinary film, a virtuoso exercise of form and content and a formidable work of art from a filmmaker at the peak of his powers.

***

East Side Story, a recent documentary about communist musicals, assumes that communist-bloc directors were just itching to make Hollywood extravaganzas and invariably wound up looking strained, square, and ill equipped. But Red Psalm (1971), Miklos Jancso’s dazzling, open-air revolutionary pageant, is a highly sensual communist musical that employs occasional nudity as lyrically as the singing, dancing, and nature; within its own idioms it swings as well as wails. Set near the end of the 19th century, when a group of peasants have demanded basic rights from a landowner and soldiers arrive on horseback, Red Psalm is composed of less than 30 shots, each one an intricate choreography of panning camera, landscape, and clustered bodies. Jancso’s awesome fusion of form with content and politics with poetry equals the exciting innovations of the French New Wave in the 60s and early 70s. The music, ranging from revolutionary folk songs to "Charlie Is My Darlin’," will keep playing in your head for days, and the colors are ravishing. The picture won Jancso a best director prize at Cannes, and it may well be the greatest Hungarian film of the 60s and 70s, summing up an entire strain in his work that lamentably has been forgotten here. The Hungarian title means "And the People Still Ask," and one of Jancso’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.

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum (Chicago Reader) HERE

Theatrical Release: March 9th, 1972

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DVD Comparison: 

Clavis Films - Region 2 - PAL vs. Second Run - Region FREE - PAL

Big thanks to Arvid for the Clavis DVD Review!

Clavis Films - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Second Run - Region FREE - PAL RIGHT

DVD Box Cover

Distribution

Clavis Films

Region 2 - PAL

Second Run

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:21:18 (4% PAL speedup) 1:21:48 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5,9 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.38 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

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

Bitrate: Clavis

Bitrate: Second Run

Audio Hungarian (Dolby Digital 2.0) Hungarian (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles French, English, none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Clavis Films

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Trailers from Clavis film
• Message of Stones: Hegyalja (54 min)
• Miklós Jancsó biography
• Miklós Jancsó filmography

DVD Release Date: 2006-04-15
Keep case

Chapters 5

Release Information:
Studio:
Second Run

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Message of Stones (A kövek üzenete) – Hegyalja: The third film in Miklós Jancsó's renowned but rarely seen documentary series Message of Stones.
• 20-page booklet featuring an expansive new essay by author and film programmer Peter Hames

DVD Release Date:
October 24th, 2011
Transparent Keep case

Chapters 12

  

Comments:

ADDITION: Second Run - October 11': The Second Run is described as "Brand new anamorphic 16:9 digital transfer with restored image and sound, approved by the director" so I see no reason to debate the aspect ratio - and the new UK image is significantly improved over the Clavis (an open-matte print?) in just about every area - and also looks to be vertically stretched beside the Second Run which has much stronger colors and contrast via the dual-layered transfer - with a higher bitrate. Great to have this important Jancsó film looking so much better.

Audio seems efficient and consistent via the UK DVD. The subtitles are a different, and presumably, more accurate translation in to English through the optional subtitles. The Second Run is region free in the PAL standard.

Included as a supplement on the newer release is Message of Stones (A kövek üzenete) – Hegyalja: described as 'the third film in Miklós Jancsó's renowned but rarely seen documentary series' - running almost an hour. In the transparent keep case package is a 20-page booklet featuring an expansive new essay by author and film programmer Peter Hames.

Red Psalm is an incredible film experience - as described by DVDBeaver contributor, Jonathan Rosenbaum - "An awesome fusion of form with content and politics with poetry... May well be the greatest Hungarian film of the 60s and 70s." Thank goodness for Second Run that we can now own it in such a stellar a/v with the included extras. Strongly recommended DVD! A must-own.

Gary W. Tooze

***

ON THE CLAVIS: One of my favorite Jancsó-movies is released on this great DVD from the French dvd-label Clavis Film who focuses on Hungarian cinema, and have released 5 other films by Jancsó and other great Hungarian pictures from directors such as István Szabó, Béla Tarr and Zoltan Fabri. The image is fullscreen (4:3), and is from what i've heard the original aspect ratio. The camera is moving pretty much the whole film, so the image looks better when you watch it compared to the screenshots. The sound is standard Dolby 2.0 and sounds good. The movie has five chapters, but there is no "select chapter"-menu available.

Extras include trailers for other Jancso-films by Clavis and for some movies by Szabó. The most interesting extra is the documentary "Hegyalja", from Jancsós documentary series Message of Stones. It's not the same as any of the ones included in Second Runs Jancsó discs, and it got both English and French subtitles (for some reason yellow ones instead of the white ones for the movie). It also has bio and filmography in French.

To sum it up, it's a great movie that I'm happy to own on DVD, and if you're remotely interested in Jancsó or Hungarian cinema you should really buy this.

 - Arvid

 



DVD Menus

 

Clavis Films - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Second Run - Region FREE - PAL RIGHT
 

 


Screen Captures

 

Clavis Films - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Second Run - Region FREE - PAL BOTTOM


subtitle sample

 

 


Clavis Films - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Second Run - Region FREE - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


Clavis Films - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Second Run - Region FREE - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


Clavis Films - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Second Run - Region FREE - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


Clavis Films - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Second Run - Region FREE - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


Clavis Films - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Second Run - Region FREE - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


  Clavis Films - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Second Run - Region FREE - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


DVD Box Cover

Distribution

Clavis Films

Region 2 - PAL

Second Run

Region 0 - PAL




 

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