The Red and The White (1968)

This 1968 politically film depicts the Russian (U.S.S.R) Civil War of 1919 between the Soviets (the Reds) and the Hungarians (the Whites).  Directed by Hungarian filmmaker, Miklós Jancsó, this film’s purpose was not that of narration and character identification but of structure and composition. Right off the bat I was confused of who the characters were and what soldier belonged to which side or defense. I then realized that he (Jancsó) purposely did not want us (the audience) to know them, not even by name. The characters only had titles, such as Nurse or commander and the most significant element identifying them was their nationality. Jancsó’s real focus was through his use of camera movement and popular tracking shots. Even though I disliked this film my favorite scene was the aerial shot of the soldiers on their galloping horses through the open field. In the article I read Laszlo Strausz explains how Jancsó’s theme for The Red and the White reflects the notion of “impersonality” which directly correlates to the Communist regime whose defiance was personal space. “Personal identity was suppressed in this system- as the director shows. Ideologically, the Revolution aimed at overthrowing the bourgeois notion of subjective agency in order to replace it with an idea of the collective. Depicting his characters as toy soldiers on the map, or comparing them to animals, Jancsó creates the theme of the evasion of subjectivity.” After reading this article I understood Jancsó’s reasoning- structurally- for this film. I did enjoy the shootings!

Works Cited

Strausz, L.. “THE POLITICS OF STYLE IN MIKLÓS JANCSÓ’S THE RED AND THE WHITE AND THE LORD’S LANTERN IN BUDAPEST. ” Film Quarterly 62.3 (2009): 41-47. Research Library, ProQuest. Web.  5 Mar. 2011.

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