This continues Jancsó's attack on paternalist authority, but its dreamily languorous pace is about all it has in common with its predecessors. Filmed in Italy, it uses the Mayerling story as the basis for a political fable about an act of rebellion: a young prince refuses to bend to his father's will, by staying on his country estate and by debauching the sons and daughters of local landowners to create a scandal in the capital. Apart from the cruel but inevitable pay-off, that's really all that happens, but Jancsó elaborates it into an extraordinary multi-sexual erotic rhapsody, using dancers rather than actors to turn the pastoral drama into something like an Elizabethan masque. The sexual aspect manages to be completely forthright (it centres on the figure of a hermaphrodite) but not at all prurient; as if Freud's 'polymorphous perversity' were the ultimate weapon against patriarchal tyranny.
Cast and crew
Teresa Ann Savoy