The Round-up (Hungarian, 1965) – Background History


Year 1848 marked not only the beginning of the Hungarian Revolution but also numerous other revolutions of the working class in small nations against their suppressing powerful empires. The quest for smashing the shackles and the urge to breathe the air of freedom drove the men, who were resilient about their ill fate of bowing to their masters, to fight for their rights at any cost. They were ready to pay anything for it, even if it costs their dear lives.

The Hungarian Revolution of 1848 soon after its inception morphed into a war of independence gaining momentum day by day. Though it saw a glorious start its potency died down in the following years. The eyes of Vienna once again began to focus on the Hungarian landscape.

Actually the seed of the revolution was sown as early as 1825, while the dispute over the usage of the collected taxes began to surface. The nobles kept themselves away from paying the taxes which began to evoke agitations amid the working class. The Hungarian peasants and people insisted in utilizing the fund raised through taxes to be used for the welfare of the homeland itself instead of diverting it to be used elsewhere. Historically the revolution is marked to have begun on the 15th of March, 1848, that began to attract mass supports nationwide. In fact it was a part of the series of agitation that triggered one after the other bringing the aristocracy to its knees, almost, across Europe, for a while at least.


Well before looking into the film it is better to brush up something in relation to the Hungarian revolution of 1956. Yes, there was another revolution that lasted for just 17 days (between Oct 23rd and Nov 10th, 1956). Though it spanned briefly the impact it had managed to create is much greater. Hungary was indeed the first nation to embrace Soviet’s communism without compulsion. It had stood by its side during needy occasions. But things changed and the Soviet grip on Hungary began to tighten.

What began as a student’s upsurge against the then ruling government of the People’s Republic of Hungary and against the Soviet hegemony soon grew into a revolution. The revolt demanded the withdrawal of the Soviet forces, and the agitators were even called for negotiations. But an unanticipated invasion of the Russian troops into Budapest, on Nov 4th, had changed the course of the revolution altogether.  Hundreds were killed and hundreds of thousands fled as refugees. The resistance could not persist beyond Nov 10th. Mass arrests and detentions followed. The Public were refrained from discussing the revolution for nearly three decades until the Soviet grip slackened.


Though the revolution is short spanned it marked the precursor of the fall of the Soviet Russia much later. This movie attempts to rethink the history, trying to reconstruct the past with a documenting seriousness.


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