Hungarian filmmaker Miklos Jancso, who won the best director at Cannes in 1972, died Friday in Budapest. He was 92. His death followed a long illness. Jancso, who director Martin Scorsese once called “the master of the long shot,” was known for his long takes and visual style in his historical epics. “I was always concerned with the problem of the individual can navigate through history,” Jancso once said. He won in Cannes for Red Psalm, a film about a 19th century peasant uprising. He also directed The Round Up, which was shot in widescreen black and white, became critically acclaimed and was one of his best-known and commercially successful films. Jancso was in WWII and became a Soviet prisoner of war. After the war, he enrolled in film school. Always keenly interested in history, his films reflected that … none more than The Red And The White, about the Russian and Hungarian revolutions, showed the horrors of war. In the 1960s, he was considered one of the best filmmakers in the world. This was a writer-director who pushed the boundaries: In the 1970s, he made Vices And Pleasures about the Archduke of Austria and his mistress. Because the film contained orgy scenes, it was banned in Italy and he was sentenced to four months in prison (which he later won on appeal). Another successful film was Silence And Cry, about a young man caught on the wrong side of the failed 1919 Hungarian Revolution. Jancso’s first work in color was The Confrontation about the school system changes once the Russians took power in 1947. He also experimented with shot length and tried different techniques and styles. For instance, in 1974, he made the film Elektreia which only used 12 shots that lasted over a 70-minute time period. One of his most endearing films was Dawn, adapted from the Elie Wiesel book about a Holocaust survivor who moves to the British mandate of Palestine. The 1985 film was entered into the Berlin Film Festival. In his later years, he made a series of films about the adventures of two characters named Kapa and Pepe which gained cult status in Hungary. He received three lifetime achievement awards, the first in Cannes in 1979, the next in Venice in 1990 and, finally, in his home country in Budapest in 1994. He worked also as a professor at the Budapest Film Academy — and in fact, his death was announced by his peers from the Association of Hungarian Film Artists. He was also a visiting professor at Harvard Institute of Communications from 1990-1992.
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