The Round-up is unparalleled in the history of Hungarian and universal cinema in its visuals, approach and conceptualisation. Miklós Jancsó's work is a historical parable, it uses a specific situation to explore general, abstract problems. The relationship between man and history, the functioning of power or the possibility of freedom are highly abstract and difficult problems to grasp. Yet Jancsó, with a creative method that is unique to him, is able to show invisible processes and invite the viewer to think together.
Jancsó's film language is characterised by a strong stylization. The labyrinthine black and white spaces of the Round-up violently delimit the vastness of the landscape of the Alföld. In the episodic story, the characters come and go, the representatives of power are constantly changing. There is no accompanying music, only noises and short dialogues, sentences. Everything is crude, impersonal and mechanical, reflecting the callous way in which the dictatorship operates. The director follows the characters as they drift back and forth with long, complicated camera movements. The famous long takes translate the manipulative, unpredictable behaviour of the oppressors into the language of film. The Round-up models the complex operation by which power inevitably crushes the group that opposes it.
Miklós Jancsó's film is a shockingly accurate vision of systems that crush freedom, regardless of the era.