Hungarian director and Cannes nominee Miklos Jancso dies age 92

Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:10pm EST
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By Marton Dunai

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungarian film director Miklos Jancso, director of five films nominated for best director prizes at the Cannes Film Festival, died on Friday of lung cancer at the age of 92, his family said.

Jancso was widely credited for instilling a unique quality into Hungarian cinema, such as long, unbroken shots and the intense examination of the relationship of ordinary men and those in power.

The prolific director, who has more than 30 feature films and nearly 50 shorter pieces to his name, had suffered from lung cancer for some time, his family told Hungarian news agency MTI.

He was already 37 years old when he made his first feature film in 1958, "The Bells Have Gone to Rome", and seven years later earned a nomination for best director at Cannes for his work on "The Round Up".

An allegorical depiction of liberty versus oppression, "The Round Up" was only allowed to be featured at Cannes because Jancso convinced Hungary's then-Communist leaders that it had nothing to do with the crushed anti-Soviet revolution in 1956.

Although Jancso was bypassed for the award that year he received it for "Red Psalm" in 1972. In the elaborate film, based on a 19th-century peasant revolt, Jancso took his early style to the extreme: he used only 26 very long shots.

In 1979, Jancso was recognized with a lifetime achievement award at Cannes.

"We have lost the greatest Hungarian film director of all time, a thinker and a real democrat," the director Bela Tarr, whose films built on Jancso's legacy, told MTI.   Continued...