The Red and the White

The Red and the White is a brilliantly shot film directed by Miklos Jancso, an acclaimed Hungarian director, set in the early 20th century during the Russian Civil war. I thought this film was pretty in your face and wanted the viewer to really feel the pains of war. I was confused at one point though as to who was good and bad, due to the fact that one brigade would show up, kill a bunch of Hungarians, and then another brigade would come kill that brigade and it was just a mess in the battlefield. Knowing that this was a Hungarian take of that civil war, we also soon learn that this was also a world view towards Russia at that time, a dominating juggernaut that stopped at nothing to seek and destroy. My father escaped Czechoslovakia in 1968, around the same time that Russian communists overthrew the liberalist Czech government, and he tells me stories all the time of the sentiment that was felt against Russia, as well as Russian bullets whizzing by his ears. This film embodies the same feeling, as the Hungarian soldiers try to ward off the communist Russians. And as we learn at the end when the Hungarian soldiers sing their battle cry and march towards the Russians, they are severely outnumbered and are massacred shortly thereafter. While this was just a film, it was reality in a sense because this IS what happened back then, with the Russians showing absolutely no mercy whatsoever.

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One Response to The Red and the White

  1. rosemarie says:

    Thanks for sharing your insight on this movie, and from your dad’s perspective also. I, too, was confused at times determing who was who in this film.. especially since it kept going back and forth, everyone killing each other. Reading your explanation on what was going on politically at the time helps. This movie must have been difficult to swallow at the time it first came out.

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