Amid the numerous deaths in the film world this year, Miklós Jancsó‘s somehow went unnoticed by me. Hungary’s legendary filmmaker passed away in January at the age of 92, leaving behind a considerable body of work that has yet to receive its proper due. I’m particularly fond of The Red and the White, Jancsó’s stark anti-war film from 1965, in which combat is deduced to a senseless game of shifting sides and repetitive violence. His masterful long takes, which had a major influence on another well-known Hungarian filmmaker, are framed with sweeping ‘Scope, serving to enhance the wide-open landscapes and elegant actor choreography. Once seen, especially in the case of this film, they’re impossible to forget.
Jancsó was able to squeeze a few small works into his final years, and the Berlinale Film Festival put this short– And Filming Too–online for everyone’s pleasure. It originated in a Béla Tarr-produced political anthology film called Hungary 2011, featuring eleven notable Hungarian filmmakers. In accordance with his signature style, Jansco’s contribution features a roving tracking shot of a cameraman and director following a dancer through desolate streets and alleys. The beauty of the lead plays against harsh, decaying surroundings (and, indeed, Jansco himself makes an appearance onscreen, telling the dancer, “We shouldn’t be filming here. We should be screaming here!”). As a final testament to his film-making, And Filming Too is a mini rendering of the most thrilling qualities Miklós Jancsó had to offer–political, graceful and full of wonder.