Cancelled: Tuesday, 17 March
Electra, My Love
ELECTRA, MY LOVE 1974
Directed by Miklós Jancsó
In Hungarian with English subtitles
What is it with these Hungarians? From the outside, Hungary would seem to be one of the last places that would excel in bold, innovative filmmaking. But instead we get directors like György Pálfi (Hukkle) and Bela Tarr. Well, back in the 60s there was also a guy named Miklós Jancsó who pushed open new landscapes of what was possible in cinema.
Today there are several directors who attempt to make entire movies on digital without a single editing cut. This wasn't possible in the 60s, because everything was shot on film stock that was ten minutes long at the most... and yet the style of the ultra long take was perfected by Jancsó already in this movie. But he also did something that directors today can't match... for Jancsó it wasn't just a matter of overcoming technical problems when he did lengthy shots without interruption. He was also able to achieve an incredible lyricism at the same time. He was able to choreograph vast numbers of extras, hundreds of people, to create poetic paintings that were wild and subtle.
This Hungarian envisioning of the Electra myth by Euripides has the scale of an epic, despite the fact it is only 74 minutes long and limited to a single (outdoor) location. It focuses on Electra who still refuses to forgive the killers of her father Agamemnon even though fifteen years have passed. It is an ode to truth as something higher than the law. Through the character of Electra, femininity represents freedom in a society clearly controlled and dictated by men. I'm not exactly a fan of the current term "justice warrior" but that is exactly what Electra is in this movie. "I was born to disturb the peace of men" – Electra.
The entire movie is composed of only twelve tracking shots that contain a mind-blowing amount of attention to composition. The camera is constantly slowly moving, roaming, always capturing details even far in the background. There is an incredible flow and a poetic edge created by doing cinema in this way, and it is in direct opposition to how long takes are approached today (as technical or gymnastic stunts). This flick fuses the ancient with the modern, and the lines delivered by actress Mari Töröcsik (as Electra) are amazing, culminating into a revolutionary climax in both form and content. A spellbinding visual experience.
This will be a high-definition screening.
Date & Time:
- 3-5 €