The Red and the White

The Red and the White (1967) is a Hungarian film directed by Miklos Jancso. Jancso is known for his innovative camera work. His films are also strong in political ideas. The Red and the White took place when most Eastern European films during this time period adhered to a national allegiance to the country and show acts of patriotism and heroism which inspire the country. However, Jancso took a different approach by mocking patriotism by showing the horrible effects of war and never identifying a lead character or a hero.

This film takes place during 1918-1919 in the time of the Russian Civil War. The movie was very interesting since it showed war in a different light, there was no one side that was shown as a better side, no sides were taken in the film. It showed both sides of the war, the Reds and the Whites equally. However the Reds dominated the whites in battle mostly. All in all it basically showed how there is no real winners in war since people on both sides lose their lives or people they care about. However, because of this the audience watching the film is unable to relate to any of the characters, there is really no main character that the audience can follow. In the end of the movie there are no winners and not much is accomplished.

I can’t say that I enjoyed the film, I was a bit confused throughout. This was mostly due to the fact that it is hard to follow the sub titles. However, I did like the camera work done by Miklos Jancso, he shot a lot in wide angle which showed the entire landscape view, it was very beautiful to watch. Pan shots were also used throughout the film. Another thing I noticed was that Jancso shot the characters mostly in groups which led to an unidentifiable main character. The film was very different from the classic American film format. Jancso used a different style which lacked in detail, had very long takes, and didn’t have any character development. This may be negative aspects for many but for some this unique style could be great. Many might like the realistic effects of this style.

Horton, Andrew James. “The Aura of History: The Depiction of the year 1919 in the Films of Miklos Jancso.” Kinoeye: New Perspectives on European Film. (2011): Print.

-Shahida Hossain

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