The Red and The White is a 1968 Russian film directed by Miklos Jancso. Dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the October Revolution, the film tells the story of a group of Hungarian Communist, the Reds, which aid the Bolsheviks’ in defeating the Czarists, or the Whites.
Its moderate scenery and, somewhat dismal plot, or no plot rather, seems customary for the time frame it was set in, but given the high octane cinema our generation has been subjected to, this movie feel flat on its face.
The movie took a too realistic approach to the hardships of the Russian Civil War. It’s a plot that has been done to death the world over: Civil unrest and the good guys come in to help out and end up sacrificing themselves in the end for the greater good.
Although not a fan of realism in cinema (I feel that cinema is a chance to escape the real world. We go to the movies to be amazed at the “what if’s” of life and things that aren’t of the everyday), the realistic approach did work in its favor. It gave the movie some, but not a lot of depth. The film’s final scene has such passion and grit in it that I feel if done over the top, with explosions, rapid jump cuts, crazy gun fire, the scene would have lost its meaning. “War seems chaotic and arbitrary” and to show it in its simplest of forms was sheer brilliance but it didn’t make up for the other 85 minutes of the film.
If anyone wants to watch a realistic approach to a war torn nation, I recommend seeing 2007’s Atonement before seeing The Red and The White.