Taking place directly after the Kossuth Rebellion, Hungarian police round up all the likely suspects, a bunch of outlaws, taking them to an isolated imprisonment camp. While in imprisonment these men are subjected to sophisticated forms of psychological torture in an attempt for the police to find the leader of the outlaws, who is believed to have organized the rebellion. Miklos Jancso's The Round-Up is a cold distant film, that captures the hopeless atmosphere of these imprisoned men. The outlaws are essentially play things for the authoritative regime, as they are constantly submitted to different traps and psychological tests, tormenting these men both physically and mentally. There is no way out for these imprisoned men, no hope, with every potential exit just leading to another trap set-up by the police in an attempt to break their spirits. Jancso's visual palette of black and white cinematography, slow tracking shots, and extremely wide compositions effectively create this cold, hopeless atmosphere - using contrasting black and white imagery to perfection. The vast empty landscapes parallel the hopeless/emptiness of these men's souls, who are completely at the mercy of their captors. A slow-paced film that's primary accomplishments are of the technical and intellectual variety, Jancso's The Round-Up is not what many would deem an an entertaining watch. Sadly, I believe that my lack of knowledge about the Hungarian history being depicted left me much less engaged than I could have been, leaving me to simply marvel at the technical achievements in creating an atmospheric film where little hope exists.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.