The Red and the White

The Red and the White (1967) is a film directed by Miklós Jancsó which focuses on the Russian Revolution, otherwise known as the October Revolution.  The cinematic style used in this film is quite unlike those others of it’s time, mainly because of it’s camera movements and techniques as well as the way that he cast the characters and the roles that they play in the film.

In this film, the camera is restless and doesn’t cut from shot to shot very often.  Rather, it tends to pan across the landscape.  The landscape in comparison to the people in the shot overwhelms them and makes them seem inferior to their surroundings, which is true since what they’re showing in the film is only a small part of a bigger picture.  Almost as if this revolution is just a small fist fight in the grand scheme of things.  Other times the camera seems like it’s acting on its own accord, panning away from the action such as in some of the more violent execution scenes.

This film has no real protagonists, but it does tend to focus on situations that concern a select few of the characters.  At the beginning of the film, it was hard to tell who were the reds and who were the whites since the film was in black and white, and the men in the war were taking off their shirts often enough that you couldn’t really tell who was a rebel and who wasn’t.  The fact that the characters didn’t speak a lot and that they only had about 15 minutes of screen time before they were killed off or just not focused on shows how realistic this film really is.  If you think about it, most wars or revolutions aren’t focused on just one soldier as in most of the modern war movies we currently have.  This film, although it isn’t a blockbuster hit, is still a work of cinematic art which any cinephile should watch in their spare time.


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