Original title: Csillagosok, katonák
Country: Hungary/Soviet Union
Language: Hungarian, Russian
Director: Miklós Jancsó
Starring: József Madaras, Tibor Molnár, András Kozák, Jácint Juhász
RT score: 67%
Miklós Jancsó's The Red and The White, is a wonderful made and well crafted war film, that is set in Hungary in 1918 where the russian revolutionary war also took place, between the white conservative forces, versus the red bolshevik army. It resulted in a red victory and a short lived soviet state, but it was only after four mounts it was dismissed and monarchy was once again established.
This movie focuses on a bunch of Bolshevik prisoners, some are executed, while the rest is sent out in the forrest naked, just so that the czarist troops can enjoy themselves by hunting them down one after one. As arrogant as they are, they underestimate the revolutionaries, because the reds have the people on their side. The czarist forces are portrayed as brutal and inhuman, specially in a scene where a bunch of the white soldiers tries to rape an innocent peasant girl, along with all their murderers and executions. While the red forces in the other hand are portrayed as heroes and martyrs, that in the end forms a line and walks slowly ahead towards an even bigger army of whites, that shoots them all down. And in the closing image we see one of the red soldiers rises his sword in salute for the dead ones.
What's really special about this film, is the cinematography with many long-takes that last for many minutes. It is not one position, but a moveable camera that jumps from one event to an other, without thinking it's just one scene, and it engages us even more, in that way that we feel like we watching as it really is, which gives the movie a more realistic tone. The story is great, because it follows the red forces, and it is their actions that drives the story and keeps it going. It doesn't follow some certain people, it follows many of the prisoners, of every culture and ethnicity. The only thing that is negative about this movie is the portraying of the white soldiers, and some of the details to make them look bad, like their own orchestra, which might be a turn off, and even a propaganda cliché. But then again it's communist Hungary. But besides that this movie is perfect, in length, in cinematography and in excitement.
You can read all my reviews on: