The Equal Power of Red and White

The Red and The White is a film made by Miklos Jansco and it’s about the Russian Civil War of the supporting communists “Reds” fighting the Tsarist “Whites” to take over Russia. While watching this film I really felt like the director just wanted us to watch a war with no winning sides. I read an article from from Laszlo Strausz and he believed that Jansco used a unique style of camera movements and storytelling that shows that either group can be strong or in power. I really did agree with the Strausz because throughout the entire movie we never know who’s winning. We also tend to be confused on who’s on which side because the characters are constantly changing their clothes to The Red or The White side. At the beginning of the movie we saw The Reds killing a lot of the men in White. It really made it seem like they were the ones with the most power because they had the guns and the horses meanwhile The Whites had nothing but clothes. The Reds also looked clean while The Whites were dirty. The Whites looked very worthless because the Reds would just have the gun and tell the Whites to move to a certain area. They would give them a few minutes to run away and those who don’t get away in time they would just get killed. I also noticed over the course of the movie that the women were often watching the men they love or care for get killed in front of them. It also seem like many of the reds wouldn’t kill the women. They will just have them take their clothes off and watch the men get shot in front their faces. The only time I saw a woman get killed was when he told a woman by the river to take her clothes and jump into the river. Then one of red soldiers would just stab her with a spear once she jumps into the river. But eventually in the middle of the movie we see a few of the Whites quickly start escaping and little by little they start to take over The Reds by dressing them in disguise, taking their guns and start shooting them instead of the White men that were captures or held hostage. For a minute it really looked like there was a betrayal going on. By this time of the movie I really thought The Reds were going to lose by the end of the movie. Because at the beginning they looked like the underdogs that get beaten then suddenly start to win the Reds over. But then by the end of the movie unexpected The Reds won. A great example that Strausz describes in the movie that really takes us by surprise is when there is a diagonal camera frame of The Whites on top of the hill and we see a few Whites kill a few Reds at the bottom of hill. And slowly the Whites march down the hill and once they reach the ends all the White men get shot and killed. This was a very unexpected scene because at first we visually see The Whites as big “right in front of our faces” view while The Reds were at the far end looking like little tiny cockroaches (laughs).  This scene made it seem like The Whites had more power because we see every detail and we are viewing from the top and usually big always wins over small.  Also before this scene we were seeing The Whites winning over The Reds. So it was a good way of showing that the movie was not taking any sides that any side has the equal power to take on either. Another way of proving my point was that often at the times the camera would shift focus from the characters from time to time like one scene will shows the whites getting killed then some Whites escaping then killing the red. So I really didn’t like the movie much story wise but the demonstration of the concept that any side can triumph was shown beautifully.

Work Cited
Laszlo Strausz. “The Politics of Style in Miklós Jancsó’s “The Red and the White” and “The Lord’s Lantern in Budapest”: Analyzes Jancsó’s Shift from an Aesthetics of Impersonal Geometry toward Faces in Close-Up. Film Quarterly
Vol. 62, No. 3 (Spring, 2009), pp. 41-47. Published by: University of California Press. Article Stable URL:
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