Így jöttem | My Way Home | Mon Chemin [1965]

25Mar12 – 10 – Így jöttem [My Way Home] (Miklós Jancsó: 1965)

ÍGY JÖTTEM (“My Way Home”, “Mon Chemin”, 1965) follows 17 year old Jószef as he makes his way on foot home (we assume, since we don’t ever find out where he’s coming from or going to) across the vast Hungarian countryside that the Soviet army has only just recently liberated from the Germans. At the beginning of the film he’s traveling on foot with a small group of other refugees. They look like city people wearing city clothes; Jószef himself is wearing school clothes and carries a book satchel. He parts from them, is captured by Soviet soldiers and just misses being summarily executed before being sent on his way, takes a Nazi uniform he finds at an abandoned German outpost, is captured by another group of Soviet soldiers, and finally is sent by them (on a whim?) to be the personal POW of a wounded Soviet private of about his age who tends a herd of dairy cattle that supplies milk to the Soviets’ nearby field hospital. Their wary relationship (Jószef and Kolya share only a few German words in common) develops into a real friendship with submerged glimmerings of something deeper than that. But Jancsó is after more than capturing the beginning of what might turn into a love relationship. He shows the arbitrariness of power, who wields it and how, and particularly in the context of war and its aftermath. Does Jancsó favor the Nazis? the Hungarian fascists? the Soviets? None? All? The question is meaningless: Jószef is alternately understood by others to be just another Hungarian, a Nazi sympathizer, a Hungarian fascist. It depends on who’s making the usually arbitrary judgment whether he lives or dies. Jancsó’s eye is amazing and even with a camera in motion across a vast and featureless landscape (lots of rolling hills that all look the same) you are never in doubt as to where you are on the landscape. And if some of the camera shots were impossible to execute flawlessly at the time (and even today would be difficult to achieve), you know what he was going for and applaud him for trying. This is bravura filmmaking. Instead of the IMDb or Wikipedia article on ÍGY JÖTTEM, I’m attaching a film afficionado’s take on the movie. His describes perfectly the effect of an opening sequence with Jószef hiding from “Cossacks” on horseback (a sequence that stopped me in my tracks last night while watching it so I had to play it again). I started out writing this thinking I’d give ÍGY JÖTTEM an 8, then as I started thinking about it a little more and replaying some sequences (including the Cossacks on horseback), I thought maybe I’d give it a 9. So I just watched it all the way through again. 10/10 [3/25/12]

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2 comments

  1. […] style that included Szegénylegények (1965) and Csillagosok, katonák (1967) and, I would argue, Így jöttem (1964). I think you could say that I’m partial to these films: not only did I avidly seek […]

  2. […] has done is jettison the wide-screen deep focus of Szegénylegények and Csillagosok, katonák (and Így jöttem and Csend és kiáltás) for the zoom lens. There’s still all extraordinary choreography of […]

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