Cantata (1963) - full transcript

A young doctor undergoes a spiritual crisis when he returns to his rural home.


A film based on the short story
by Jozsef Lengyel


And the friends of the director:
Writers and artists

Director of photography:


Sound Engineer:
Art director:


Assistant Directors:
Unit managers:

Lighting Effects:
Interior decorations by:
Set decorators:

Costume designer:
Camera assistant:

Production Manager:

A film by Miklos Jancso

Stop that rubbish!
Speak about that!

The fibres of the myocardium are in contact
with each other through anastomoses.

The nuclei are placed
in the center of the fibre.

This costruction of the myocardium ensures

the heart works accurately and is harmonized.

Good morning!

- Professor, the scarf, you've forgotten it...
- Thank you very much.

...And he shouted, "Herr capitaine, f... k!"

The old man was completely deaf.

He wandered around the hospital,

and could never sleep...

the old man loved to drink.

The wine flask was always in his cupboard,
between the shoes. He hided it there.

Excuse me!

Come here.

Sit here by me.

Have you lost weight lately?


- No loss at all?
- Nothing.

What's your name?

Kovacs. Ivan Kovacs.

Ivan Kovacs...
What is your room number?


Thanks, you can go.

Here you are, professor, have it
before it gets cold.

Thank you.

I will bring a cake in a minute.

Maria, please...

Send Ivan Kovacs of room 118 to me.

- Professor...
- Yes?

Did you say something?

First I think you should have a talk with...

the House Surgeon or Doctor Jarom.

You are right.

Don't send him here.



For you too...

Can I have a look?


Remember you're in the hospital...

You want to be a doctor...

so behave yourself!

- Is this yours?
- No, it's my friend's.

- Can I borrow it?
- Certainly.

I shall call you later, Good bye.

How are you, Gyuszi!


Impossible to have a quiet rest
with Mr. Fodor...

- He keeps moaning end sighing.
- Ok, we'll have a look.

- Good morning.
- Good morning.

How are you, Mr. Fodor?

Your pulse is excellent.
Well, don't loose your good spirits... Sit up.

Stretch out your arms.

See, you can do it!


It does not go that easily, Mr. Fodor...

I shall come back in the evening.

Calm down...

Good bye.

Good bye.

- Does Mr. Fodor have uremia?
- He has two days left.

In my opinion you should tell him.

- One has to prepare for death.
- Or not.

Maybe it's better if it comes unexpectedly.

See, who I've brought for you!

- Hello.
- Hello.

I couldn't get any flowers.


- Aren't you afraid?
- No.

- Here it is... the medical report.
- Thank you.

Get ready.

Don't be afraid!

Here you are.

You see, here is all the material.

I would like to have the exposition in the
second, fifth, eighth and twelfth seconds.

Mari, get ready...

Put on a white coat, please.


- My honor, professor.
- Good morning... Hello.

Good morning everybody.

Are you working?

You don't have to be afraid of us, dear.

I would like to have the exposition in the
second, fifth, eighth and twelfth seconds.


What does the old prof want here?

This nitrealstenosis is not a problem
for you anymore.

We are doing two to three a week.

I first saw the operation when
the old prof did it ten years ago.


You see they are doing the X-ray now.

- The old prof was happy when I asked him.
- What?

- To perform the operation.
- Are you crazy?

I used to be afraid of him. But now he was
so kind, he didn't want me to leave.

You don't know what you're doing!

He has returned! He hasn't carried out
an operation since two years!

He was the first to perform
this operation in Hungary.

Remember, when we watched him,
it was breath taking.

Leave out the drama or I'll start crying.

You have not seen an open chest since you
left university, have you?

A typical mitral Configuration.

There is also stagnation in the lungs...
The heart valves have to be separated.

That's what you have
asked of the old professor!

His hands are steady!

They used to be!

I trust him.

Give me the House Surgeon, please.

He won't agree to it either...

Don't you understand that
the professor is old?

The House Surgeon is there?
When is he coming back?

We'll wait for him.

This garden is nice and large.

You'll catch cold.

You don't know about modern surgery...

Before, surgery was just a
question of the skill of the hands.

Today, an operation is like a concert.

Collaboration of an internal specialist, a
biologist, a chemical engineer...

And I want to be a conductor...
not a small craftsman.

The age of the "lone wolves" has ended.

They have to be sifted out!

Maybe I don't know much about this...

I am sure, you don't.

- Hello.
- Hello.

- The latest price of the car?
- The same as it was.

- Make it a bit cheaper!
- Impossible.

- 65000?
- Ok. In two instalments.

60000 tomorrow...
...and 5000 the day after.

How witty you are.

...No, that can't be done!

Excuse me for a moment.

You are biased about the old professor.
Of course you are, he taught you.

Probably I am. But a colleague asked him
to perform the operation and not me.

He trusts him and I will
assist at the operation.

- So, he will do it?
- Yes.

See you Tuesday.

Will you assist at the operation?
It's ridiculous, you will do it!

You are sentimental...

You don't dare tell him that
he is not a surgeon anymore?

Will you tell him?

You can start washing.

- You could say "Hello".
- I did it.

- I didn't hear you.
- I speak too soft...

- I didn't get a proper education.
- You idiot!

And despite this, you decided
I should assist at the operation?

There are a few things
you can learn from him.

Maybe once I shall be biased about you.

After all, I learnt surgery from you.

But that's true!

Now, how old is the professor?

- He is seventy.
- Seventy...

Everything is all right?


The patient is a woman, aged 25.

She learned about her heart disease
about two years ago.

She has dyspnes and gets tired easily.

His complaints are increasing.

The physical finding is typical.

Configuration cardiaque mitrale...

Snapping first sound...
Long mitral murmurs...

High-pitched pulmonary second sound.

In my opinion, it is a pure mitral stenosis.

Thank you.

We can start?

Close the chest and thank you
for the assistance.

I don't feel the carotid pulse.
The heart has stopped functioning!

The heart has no action, it has stopped!


The heart's stopped!

Let me do it. I will take over!

Nurse, please...

Nurse, please!

What's happened?

It was fantastic!

Why did you go out?
Are you tired?

Just recollections...

Good for you, old boy,
you are collecting memories only now.

It was fantastic!

Well, old boy that's the old school.

The old school has not brought anybody back
from the state of "clinical death".

The energy and toughness of the old school...

and loneliness...

You know where we'll be at the age of 70?

The average age of humanity increases...

those of the doctors decrease.

Did I tell you that my father
is seventy too?

- You didn't.
- Seventy...

- Where are you going?
- After the professor!

All right, go.


Did you want to say something to him?


Get yourself ready,
I shall take you home.

Well, how long do you know me?

- Since about 620 years.
- Don'be silly!

What was I like when I was
a medical student?

- You had red hair and a nose like a potatoe...
- Really, don't pull my leg!

Did you believe that one day
I'd become a doctor? Was I talented?

What a foolish question!

And if you had not have been talented,
do you think I would tell you that?

Was I agressive, inhuman?

A carreerist?
Was I agressive or talented?

How old are you?

Thirty two?

Well, then you have one more year to decide:

Whether you will let yourself be crucified
or will try to live like others.

First learn how to live,
and then you can philosophize...


I called you...

Come down...

Why not?

You have to come down!

For me... for me, you know.

Ok, if you can't, well, you can't.

- Hello.
- Hello.

They are sitting there...

Good bye.

What's new?

Nothing. I am alive.

Did I tell you that I like you?

You did.

Hello everybody.

Are you coming?
You too?


I'll pay.

Come in...

Go there!

- Hello!
- Now, what will happen?

Congratulations old boy.

It's like the best Polish short films...

Is this praise or criticism?

You dissect the "geese",
and we dissect the film.

So how is it?

Tell me what do you want
to express with this film?

Or do you just want to play with pictures?

Shall I say I am sad?

You have seen the film,
I was meditating on it a long time,

I tried to express something with it...
and then you ask "what"?

What do you suggest should be the title?

Well, it's difficult to give it a title.

Look, if you can't decide
on a title, how can we?

So, that's the situation... after the rope one
expects something different, not geese.

Good, but this is reversed evolution...
"The resurrection of the hanged geese"

With the start, where they are hanging
down... that has something human...

The second part with cutlery,
this is something like a folk tale.

So this experiment has a duality...

You wanted to imitate a folk art motif...
The roasted geese would fly into your mouth.

You did not achieve your purpose.

Because the beginning
is a cannibial sort of idea...

could make people laugh, but you
could have a different affect on people, too.

Bring me a little water.

And this reminds me of a
story in my childhood.

I was in the country we made
the geese drunk on blackberries.

People thought they were dead...

and plucked them to take them to market.

Early next morning...

What do you want?

Go up to my place.
Would you?

Here is the key...

Wait for me, I'll be coming.

...There is no objection against
what he does, but... is exclusively passion
which attracts him...

He has no special thoughts, not even any
special intentions for some kind of solutions.

No, no, the question is not that, but what...

Of course, that is only part
of the whole thing...

What is really interesting in my opinion... that all knowledge
...of sculpture has accumulated...

...both the realistic and the abstract
forms which are able to meet...

...with social force and
in a historical moment...

...when in the strict sense of the word,
realist sculpture and...

abstract sculpture are able to coincide

in such a way and in such harmony.

In an extreme intellectual age,
the greatest artists are not

exclusively intellectual artists.

- But... there are passionate artists...
- Allow me to read one of my stories.

It's not necessary to read it now.

- Let's skip that...
- In my opinion it's quite good...

I was an infant prodigy...
...But a sad one.

In 1945 at the age of 14...
I was in a children's home...

...together with other orphans,
whowere my generation.

The winter of 1944 to 1945 remains in my
memory like a fresco on the shelter wall.

Although sense and reason discovered and
revealed the causes of that sad period,

it does not ease the weight
of those first impressions.

I must answer for it...

Do you want to watch the film of Ambrus?

We have seen it fifty thousand times.

Read it...

- When did you come?
- I waited for you.

- I didn't see you...
- What's the trouble?

I'll tell you...


No... no!

Stop it.

Feri has got some real good numbers!
Just listen!

Congratulations, old boy.

Watch out!

Are you afraid?
Always afraid?

No, I am not afraid.

The only thing is, I don't like
to hide all the time.

- Well, you must stop this hide and seek.
- Yes.

You're not afraid, you just pity him.

I can't tell him...


- I can't make up my mind.
- You've made up your mind...

...but don't like to be cruel.
But you will have to come out of it!

Come with me, I have to talk to you.

What's wrong?
Somebody died again?

I don't know... do come...

What do you want?

- I want to talk to you.
- I can't be absent.

Shall I bring something?

- What do you want?
- Hello...

I won't buy the car.

- Breathe out...
- I'm not drunk.

- Lend me the car, Sandor.
- Take it.

- The car keys?
- It's in the pocket of my coat.

- Can I take two days off?
- O.K. Go.

- You don't mind, do you?
- You must be crazy!

Come on, get the ball!
That's right... very good!

Come on, don't stop!

Very good... come on!

Loosen your limbs... you, too!


- Hello!
- Hello!


Hello, Etus.

I've become ugly, haven't I?


You don't even kiss me?

Well, I could...

- Going to your father?
- Yes.

He is in the field sowing,
for the third day.

My father died...
He had cancer.

At first we didn't know it,
he went to work...

And suddenly he began to loose weight.

I'm an agronomist!

Did they tell you?

They did.

I don't have a degree,
but I can still do the job.

But they will kick me out
if I don't finish agronomy school.

But now you will complete the course.

This time, I will.


Shall I wait for you?

I don't know when I'll be back.

I'll wait!

You'll get cold, father.

It's still warm.

- A retired man and still working?
- It's sowing time.

- And the tracktors?
- There are some.

Then why use the horses?

Your grandfather sowed with his hands.
A horse is useful, and will always be so.

They're still here!

They are fine.

I was proud when we bought them...

Hey Ficko, Daru!

- They recognized me.
- They answer to their names.

- Didn't you give them to the cooperation?
- We did... they belong there.

They don't have enough sheds yet, so they
gave them to me, I am taking care of them.

- Maybe we'll slaughter them.
- Really?


Ficko, Daru!

I'd like you to come with me to Budapest.

I'm not sick...
Go back.

I'll stay here.

Just go back.
You'll find the food, warm it up...

By noon I'll be home, too.

Let me do it.

Do I have a daughter in law yet?

- Not yet.
- But will I ever have one?

- You will.
- From Budapest?

- Will it be some time soon?
- Well, it takes time.

Then it's unlikely that I'll ever see her.

We'll have our wedding here.

- Listen...
- Etus went to the office.

- You are the Csete-Szabo kid, don't you?
- She said I should take you there. Ho!

You have a very sleepy face...

Did I sleep long?

I don't know, if you sleep
all morning, it is a long time.

- Is my father back?
- He's already left.

I should have put the food on the stove.

You were tired.

It was a long trip.

What are you doing here?

- I am guarding the house.
- Now, don't be silly...

I'm having a little rest...
Your father has some good wine.

What truck was here?

A five ton one... The oxen were taken away.
To the slaughther house.

And you?

What's happened to you?

Any trouble?

I know I only came
when I needed something.

Food, money or just the
loving of my mother.

- Come over to us...
- No.

I'll wait for my father.

We have good wine, too.

I'll show you my children.

I already know them...

They are playing there in front of the house.
They resemble you.

Gyuri, Ferko!
Come here.

Introduce yourselves.

Ferenc Ballai.

Gy?rgy Ballai.

Now say what you want to be
when you grow up.


- And you, Ferko?
- Doctor.

Now, you can go...

The children don't resemble me...

They are exactly like their father...
Their character is also like their father's.

How about you?

Is your wife a doctor?

- I don't have a wife yet.
- But you'll have one.

Yes, I will.

I still know the parts of the skull:

"We can differenciate the cranium
and the face skull in the skull itself.

The cranium consists of eight parts:

The frontal bone, nape-bone...

the shenoid bone, bolter-bone...

the two temples and
the two parietal bones."

Top mark, my colleague!

You never liked me, did you?

- I liked you.
- No, never.

I liked you, but I did not love you.

If you'd married me, then I wouldn't
have been expelled from university.

You didn't know anatomy.

If that were all, been expelled.

We were kulaks- wealthy farmers.
There was a meeting...

Yes, there was a meeting.
There were many meetings.

You could have stood up for me.

I believed in everything we did then.

You could have protect me.

It was not so simple.

But I think you are right.

I ought to have supported you.

- Was I beautiful?
- You were.

- Was I an attractive woman?
- You were.

Did you ever love anyone except yourself?

Now you can repay me,
what you owe me...

Gyuri, Ferko!

Come home!

When these youngsters grow up...
help them get into university...

Everyone needs some "socialist contacts".

We have a good thirst for drinking...

You know how he is...

You can't restrain him
when he's in the mood.

How is he?

You are the doctor...

You even examined him...

You must know whether he is healthy.

Did you notice that
he has lost weight lately?

No, we didn't.

Did you talk?

Yes, we did.

But do we ever talk?

I can't see your new farm...

It's either that?

Or that one, behind the big tree...

That is the big poplar tree, isn't it?

No, it's not.
You have to search for it.

Everything went too smoothly for me...

A hostel, a scholarship...
and from university straight to the clinic,

and even there being the son
of a poor peasant got me through.

Everything went so smoothly.

Why, is it a problem,
if things go smoothly?

No, it's not a problem...

But by the end... one takes
everything for granted... everything.

- Did you have the poplar tree cut down?
- Yes.

That's why you can't find it.

- We'll put it on sale...
- Sell what? The farm?

- Yes.
- Is there anyone to buy it?

Half of it is yours.

- I don't need it.
- According to the law it's yours.

- Then I relinguish my right to that!
- Why?

Don't you want to buy a house or a car?

You do, don't you?

Did you want to study?
You did!

Could you?
You couldn't!

You have spent enough money on me.

- Are you tired?
- Sometimes.

- This wine is good.
- Of course.

- Are you drinking?
- No, thanks...

I filled your decanter.

Leave a barrel for next year.

- Father is the cellarman, too.
- For the last time.

This is the last year too
I will do the sowing.

Of course, in Budapest you could
only plant beans on the balcony!

That's not the question.

I will not live until harvest time...

Of course, because you must come with me.
You must come.

Excuse me, Ambrus,
but we'll be sowing tonight.

The children have to see
Budapest, at any rate.

We'll be writing to you before long.

Father, my wife will come tomorrow,
so get your clothes ready for laundry.

I want you to come with me.

I need you so much.
I must have you with me.

Something happened yesterday,
and since then...

I just don't know...

Nothing seems right!

I really don't know anything any more.

The way I lived...

Everything went smoothly.

But now I am terribly lonely.

Help me!

And come with me!

I'm not going, son.

It's not worth it.

Better hurry, son,
there'll be rain tonight.

Bartok B?la is telling the story of
"Cantata Profana"

"The nine stags"

Once upon a time there was an
old man... whose treasure...

nine sons, fair and sturdy...
seed of his own body.

Naught of work he taught them,

neither trade, nor farm, nothing taught he,
nor sowing, nor the care of cattle,

only this he taught them:
Hill and vale to wander,

hunting the noble stag.

Through forests arrowing,
All sturdy sons and brothers...

...They hunted on and on
further and further longer...

...longer until deep lay a hunted bridge,
wandrous stags had crossed it.

Headless on they followed,
nor know where they wandered...

Lost in forest shadows all here
changed to stags there in the forest..."

You crazy idiot!

Please, give me a lift!

- After my train. I missed it.
- Jump in!

...At last the loving father
could abide no longer...

...straight he took his riffle and set forth
to find them, find his nine fair children.

On he roamed to where the magic bridge lay,
found where wondrousstags had crossed it...

Swiftly then their trail he followed...
Reached at last a well spring...

Nine stags standing,
falling down on one knee.

He sighted on the lender...
But the oldest stag...

The train's gone!

- What's up?
- We have overtaken the train.

Thank you very much.

- Have a cigarette!
- Thanks.

Perphaps this lighter will work.

It doesn't stop, only slows down.
Thanks again.

Aren't you leaving?

I'll wait in case you miss the train again.

A fine little wagon.

- Are you a doctor?
- Yes.

I shall be an agricultural engineer.

I'll get a scholarship...
My village will sponsor me.

I will have finished
my military service first.

The train is coming. Hurry!

...Once upon a time there was and old man
whose treasure nine sons, fair and sturdy...

Naught of work he taught them,

only this he taught them:
Hill and vale to wander.

All sturdy sons and brothers...
They followed hunting...

They hunted further and further longer, until
all turned into stags there in the forest.

They shall never return because their antlers
don't fit through doors, only through valleys.

Their slim bodies can't walk
in gowns, only in branches.

Their feet can't step in ashes of oven,
only in fallen leaves.

Their lips can't touch glasses,
only clear spring water..."

Let me help you.


"The light hit his face,

he remembered something
Marta had translated from a book.

...An old fashioned friendship rhyme perhaps..."

"If you look straight into the sun
and lose your sight

don't blame the sun, but your eyes"


English subtitles: Viktoria Sovak
Translation: Mok?p