Red Psalm | Chicago Reader

Red Psalm

East Side Story, a 1997 documentary about communist musicals, cynically assumes that communist-bloc directors were just itching to go Hollywood. But there's nothing deprived about Miklos Jancso's sensual open-air pageant (1971), made up of less than 30 shots and employing occasional nudity as lyrically as the singing and dancing. Set in the late 19th century, when peasants demanding basic rights from a landowner are met with soldiers on horseback (the Hungarian title means “And the People Still Ask”), it's an awesome fusion of form with content and politics with poetry. The catchy tunes range from revolutionary folk songs to “Charlie Is My Darlin',” and the colors are ravishing. It won Jancso a best director prize at Cannes and may well be the greatest Hungarian film of the 60s and 70s. In Hungarian with subtitles. 87 min.

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