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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Essential DVD Release, 15 July 2008
This review is from: The Round Up [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
Along with 'The Red and the White' by the same director and also released by Second Run DVD, this film is a must-have for any serious collector of world cinema. Made in Communist Hungary in 1966, it is about Hungarian prisoners rounded up by the Austrians one hundred years earlier, and held in a stockade set within a barren landscape. The themes of unjust imprisonment, oppression by a foreign country, and the powerlessness of the individual are all present here and must have carried immense power at the time the film was made.

Many of the scenes in this strange film are in medium to long shots, across the flat landscape, and of groups of men inside the stockade. There are countless shots of great beauty and the pace is quite slow. As such the drama is almost abstract at times, and it's difficult to identify with many of the characters. The ending however, is very dramatic and deeply shocking.

The DVD includes a lengthy interview with Jancso and the print of the film is very sharp.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Jansco films from Second Run, 1 Jun. 2010
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This review is from: The Round Up [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
The other reviewers have given excellent accounts of these superb Miklos Jancso films so no need to add my modest thoughts. Having recently bought them perhaps it's worth mentioning the excellent Second Run releases in terms of quality and extras which the others have not covered in any detail, if at all.

Of the two - The Round-Up and The Red and the White, the Round-Up clearly comes from a superior print source. It is clean and sharp although not without occasional damage and speckling. The poorest section is the opening titles which has the most speckling but once into the main body of the film it is only sporadic.

The bold contrast looks very good - it seems comparable to the print I saw at the NFT some years ago - in the transfer the whites behave themselves and there's detail in the shadows. One major problem comes in the appalling scene where the poor naked girl is whipped as she runs between two lines of soldiers. The fast close-up panning produces in the telecine lots of very noticeable little black pixel blocks in the trail of the image. This also reoccurs in a shot later in the scene but I haven't spotted this technical problem elsewhere. Nevertheless it's a stunning film, which comes with a new [2008] 20 min interview with the director and as always with Second Run an excellent illustrated booklet.

The source print for The Red and the White seems to be a softer, slightly murky one, by comparison. It has a good measure of speckling at the head of the opening reel, as with The Round-Up. There's even a persistent scratch in the right-hand quarter of the frame that continues some way into the body of the film. The exteriors tend to be low in contrast and a little soft but the sharpness does improve later on in the film where the contrast is stronger in the hospital interior scenes.

The Red and the White DVD also comes with an episode from the directors documentary series, 'Message of Stones' shot on digital video in 4:3 aspect ratio. This is a wordless - in terms of commentary - visual 'meditation' on Jewish life in Budapest - or that's how it struck me on first viewing [I haven't had time to view it all yet]. Anyway, it's a substantial and valuable extra. The booklet contains the transcript of another interview with MJ.

Finally, the aspect ratio of both films is 2.35:1 so you should watch with bars at the top and bottom of the screen to view the whole frame. This has the advantage of placing half the sub-titles in the black band across the bottom and not over the picture. If my 16:9 TV is set to auto aspect ratio it fills most of the screen with an image cutting off the left and right sides of the frame. Is this what "enhanced for widescreen televisions" means?

The restored mono soundtracks are very acceptable and of course none of the modest defects can distract from the brilliance of these great films. They are not to be missed on these great value, excellent quality Second Run releases.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, 1 July 2008
This review is from: The Round Up [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
It's almost unfathomable that a filmmaker like Miklos Jancso is virtually unknown here. His films are incredible, painful, beautiful. Like an Eastern European Sergio Leone, his films are both epic and intimate.
THE ROUND-UP is (possibly) his finest film - set in a Hungarian detention camp in 1869, it unflinchingly demostrates the dehumanising effect of war and abuse of power.
Powerful, visually stunning and above all relevant - this is a film that should not be missed by lovers of cinema.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Head in a Bag, 7 Mar. 2012
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Round Up [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
First attempt to watch this and I was excessively tired and the slow pace of the film did not help my concentration span. I found myself drifting, as this requires a fresh pair of eyes. The film of the "camp" is relentless with its mundanity and alienation. This is brought across within the various scenarios.

There is some confusion for those who do not comprehend the history, as we are told at the beginning this was a civilising mission on behalf of the Austro-Hungarian army br"inging order to the Hungarian interior. It reminded me of the "Manifest Destiny of the American mission. All undertaken within the same time period as the uniforms resonate.

Within the camp there is a general mind incarceration and band routinisation of prisoners, the bag over the head to disorient, redolent of the American punitive system in Iraq. The solitary confinement, game playing and inevitable executions drag the prisoners into a quagmire as they resist through a grim determination of silence.

The film plays upon game playing and how a people is broken down through ruse. This resonates with Erich Fromm's "Dogma of Christ" and Jan Karski's "The Secret State." How does an occupier, occupy and erase dissent from a sullen populace. This film shows one particular method of breaking down the unity of prisoners.

One problem within the film is the lack of an inability to inhabitat a character, as they are all herded into a herd, the inability to either empathise or demonise became a problem, for me.

The Central European camerawork however is superb, bringing out large washes of barren, bleak, flat landscapes of the Central European plain. The acting is intense drawing the viewer into a Kafkaesque world, all too famliar as this is the real one based upon subterfuge, deceit and all the other components of bureaucracy and institutions.

Do not expect to be "entertained," as this is not a fantasy, but a picture of the mundane minutae of the machine grind undertaken in slow moments. I can understand when this is placed against most American fayre, an audience turning away. It is akin to placing silk next to rayon, the problem however is that the pattern on the picture plays to a series of emotional jerks within the American model that conditions the viewer to move to the same rhythms every time a picture is placed in front of them. Being confronted with the real world creates a certain inertia and unease.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning !, 10 April 2012
By 
M. R. Sathiah "DVD Lover" (Penang, Malaysia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Round Up [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
Difficult as it is to add anything to the enthusiastic comments posted here, I feel compelled to add my voice to the chorus of praise for the Round Up. The opening sequence of the prisoners led out, hoods covering their heads (does it ring a bell??) will replay in my mind for a long time. The formal, almost hieratic beauty of the
photography, the unremitting flatness of the landscape, the choreographed movements of the guards, the blinding whitewashed walls will long remain imprinted in your memory.
Jancso in his later films overplayed the balletic long shots and became a little too enamoured with his own devices, but this film must be counted as one of the most powerful pamphlet against arbitrary power and abusive authority. An absolute must!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry in Black and White, 21 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: The Round Up [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
The story of rebels versus the authorities.

It's set in a prison stockade with the sky overhead and and endless, flat landscape all around.

There are many scenes in this film where the camera lingers - and they are beautiful - black and white graphic shapes in a landscape. Yet never does the film become 'arty'. The story is so strong and so well told, so well paced and full of tension, that the imagery fits into the story and is part of it. Highly, highly recommended.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars prompt arrival, 27 April 2011
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This review is from: The Round Up [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
this rare film dvd arrived promptly and in excellent shape. I will willingly deal with this vendor in the future.
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The Round Up [1966] [DVD]
The Round Up [1966] [DVD] by Miklós Jancsó (DVD - 2008)
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