The Pacifist

La pacifista / A pacifista
Italy, France, West Germany, 1970

Dir.: Miklós Jancsó
Scr.: Miklós Jancsó, Gyula Hernádi, Giovanna Gagliardo
Phot.: Carlo Di Palma
Ed.: Alberto Moro
Music: Giorgio Gaslini
Cast: Monica Vitti, Pierre Clémenti, Daniel Olbrychski, József Madaras, Peter Pasetti
Distributor: Mokép
82 mins.

Barbara is a journalist. While recording a protest by leftist extremist group in Milan, her car is set on fire by youth from the extreme right and one of them knocks her out. From then on her increased anxiety becomes unbearable, she feels constantly watched, followed. She is helplessly drifting into the struggle between the various forces. The Pacifist is film drama made in Italian-French-West German cooproduction in 1970. The original title is La pacifista, but in the contemprary Hungarian press and in filmmaking circles it was referred to as Fear of Everyday. Miklos Jancsó’s first Italian film quickly disappeared from movie theaters abroad: it essentially bombed. According to the director the major cause of the failure was the star of the film, Monica Vitti, who was basically identified by her audience at that time with her roles in comedies and was rejected in any other roles. Both Jancsó and Vitti shared unpleasant memories of working together. A number of critics "re-evaluated" their opinions in the past decades: in their opinion Jancsó had an incredible insight into the Italian political balance of those days and anticipated the changes that eventually led to the wave of terror that swept through Italy and Western Europe a few years later.

The Pacifist debuted in Hungary one and a half decades later. The reasons were reportedly not ideological but financial ones: despite the failure of the film the foreign producer of the film demanded a rather high price. The Hungarian public had a chance to see it during a one-day tribute screening series commemorating the 65th birthday of Jancsó in February 1986.


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