The Red and the White is a powerful, masterfully crafted, political film. Miklos Jancso is well known for his constantly moving camera technique and wide angle shots. He employs both these very well in The Red and the White using them to his advantage.
Jancso is able show us the brutality and violence of the civil war with scenes such as the execution of prisoners and the sexual harassment of a civilian girl; however, he only shows us a glimpse. Just as we are about to see the most wrenching part he pulls away with his ever so slightly mobile camera. The camera’s movement is so slight we don’t even realize it’s happening until we find that we are unable to see the end result of what’s happening. I found myself craning my neck several times as if to see around the corner Jancso has created for his audience.
Although Jancso enjoys teasing the audience by keeping certain sites from them, he makes up for it by taking in a lot in a few scenes with his wide angle technique. These two things seem to work against each other, they, however, play off each other very well. Jancso is in complete control of what his audience does and doesn’t see. Even with the wide angle camera, Jancso still teases his audience due to the fact that the edges of the screen are distorted. So even though it may seem like we see more, in reality we still cannot see the whole picture.
Since I’m already a few words over I would just like to point out the lack of a main character. Although this may put many to sleep, I was enthralled by the change it had to my perspective of the film. It felt real, almost like a documentary. There was no one story centralized around a main character. Instead it was one event of the civil war and it had an equal effect on everyone. No one person was more important than the next. I also liked that, just like this response, there seemed to be no definite end to the story. The war did not end, a man did not finally reach home, a couple did not fall in love; there was no end. Again, this was one event during the civil war, and although this battle was won, there is still an entire war to fight.
“The Red and the White.” Sight & Sound 16.6 (2006): 91. Film & Television Literature Index. EBSCO. Web. 7 Mar. 2011.