Csend és kiáltás (Silence and Cry)  (1967)




Director:  Miklós Jancsó.

Starring:  Mari Törtcsik (Teréz), József Madaras (Károly), Zoltán Latinovits (Kémeri), Andrea Drahota (Anna), András Kozák (István), István Bujtor (Kovács II), Ida Siménfalvy (Teréz' mother), János Koltai (Peasant), Sándor Siménfalvy (Old peasant), Kornélia Sallay (Auntie Veronika), János Görbe (The shepherd), László Szabó (Detective), Philippe Haudiquet (Photographer).

 the rightist police in Hungary track down and kill former Hungarian Red Army soldiers


Spoiler Warning:  below is a general summary of the entire movie. 

The movie is set in 1919 Hungary.  The short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic has been overthrown by rightist military forces under Admiral Horthy.  Hungarian soldiers who had served in the Red Army are now hunted men.  If caught they would be executed by the forces of the right. 

A soldier who had served in the Third Worker's Battalion returns home only to be met by the police.  The police send the man up the sand hill to gather a branch from a tree.  As he climbs the hill to the tree he is shot dead in the back.   Another soldier, Károly, who served with the Lenin Battalion, returns to his farm.  His wife is Teréz.  Also at the farm are Károly's mother, a young brunette woman and István Cserzi, a former soldier of the Red Army who has taken refuge on the farm.  The wife and the young brunette help to hide István from the police who are constantly roaming around the area.  István is fortunate in that the commandant of the local Royal Gendarme outfit is a childhood friend.

The reason for the even greater than usual police presence is that two policemen around 30 years of age have been killed.  The detective directs the investigation. 

There is something shady going on at the farm.  István is the lover of the young brunette, but Teréz appears to be participating in a three-way relationship.  Teréz appears to be attracted to both  István and his lover.  Teréz shows very little interest in Károly. 

István discovers that his two female protectors are secretly poisoning the mother-in-law and her son, Károly.  István is supposed to stay out of sight and the commandant will look the other way.  But István feels he has to report the poisonings to the police.  Reporting the crime, however, would force the commandant to issue an order to have István executed.  István decides to report the crime.  The commandant then tells the Sergeant to take István to town via the infamous sand hill.  But the commandant has second thoughts and decides to permit his one-time friend István to take his own life with a pistol.  Instead of killing himself with the pistol, István shoots the commandant.   


Interesting movie.  I must confess I was lost.  The movie itself gives you so little background that it is easy to be lost.  I did not know if the fellows in uniform were Hungarian or Austrian or what.  I had to read about the historical background before I could finally have a good grasp of the events in the movie.  The movie has an art film look to it, but, nevertheless, it kept my interest.  There was an atmosphere of fear pervading the farms as the police looked for Red Army soldiers and their supporters.  I was hooked because I wanted to find out what was going to happen to the two soldiers and to the two women. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

Historical Background:

1867  --  Hungary became an autonomous part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 

end of World War I  --  the Austro-Hungarian empire collapsed.

1918 (November 16)  --  an independent Hungarian Republic proclaimed.

1919 (March)  --  the communists took power.

1919 (April)  --  communist leader Béla Kun proclaims the Hungarian Soviet Republic.  The government did not last long.

1919 (June 13)  --  the Peace Conference in Versailles ordered Hungary to evacuate the northern territories and Romania to evacuate the Tiszántúl .

1919 (June 30)  --  Hungary evacuates the northern territories.  The Romanian army, however, remained in the Tiszántúl.

War between Hungary and Romania.  The Hungarian Soviet army was defeated. 

1919 (August)  --  more than half of present-day Hungary, including Budapest, was under Romanian occupation.

1919 (November)  --  the Romanian army departs.  Miklós Horthy, former Austro-Hungarian Admiral, led rightist military forces into entered Budapest.

Soldiers who had served in the Hungarian Red Army were now hunted by secret policemen and the nationalist Royal Gendarme. When caught the former Red Army soldiers were subject to execution without trial.  .

1920 (January)  --  elections held; Admiral Horthy elected Regent.  Hungary was once again a kingdom without kings. 

1944  --  Admiral Horthy ruled with autocratic powers until this year.


Return To Main Page

Return to Home Page (Vernon Johns Society)