I saw this not long after 'Mad Max: Fury Road' and although I know comparing the two films is a bit daft on my part, I'll give it a shot. While there is only one scene of note with a motor vehicle, it is used much as those in the post-apocalypse: as a show of force to cow the unwashed masses. The sense of random slaughter in both films is heightened by the multiple chase scenes in which momentum shifts on a dime.
This film tells an intriguing story worth watching and getting immersed in. The film does struggle with some stylistic and translation barriers that leave the film feeling dated for me. These decisions leave the film not flawed, but carrying less heft from moment to moment. Definitely an interesting time of history to be exposed to more.
About halfway through the film, girls are forced into a waltz solely for the fleeting visual pleasure of men soon dead - a terrifying summary of Jancsó's film as a whole. Dizzying in its oscillation of winners and losers, soldiers and martyrs, and seas of shirtless men with no discernible cause for war, after a while one starts to get the idea that no one ever wins. The film is needed salt on an open wound.
This one was a brick. The long takes are almost all action-oriented. Depleted of meditation or symbolism, which is a rattling thing for a war movie to do. I'm compelled by the way nations and languages cloak characters. You do read (on notebook, for instance), how "depleted" the semantics are; they are also uniquely rife with imperatives that activate the profilmic space. Woods scene is special.
A war film that lacks sentimentalism quickly extinguishing any hint of romanticism. There are no central characters. Characters come and go. They appear commit good or evil acts but unheroically, and at times without clear cause, die. There is no clear narrative or sense of purpose. War is depicted as irrational by it's nature. Jansco's cinematography makes death casual with it rarely appearing in the foreground.
This is certainly one of the greatest war films ever made, fitting seamlessly in a tradition running from Tarkovsky's Ivan's Childhood through Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket all the way to Jerzy Skolimowski's Essential Killing. At times the movie seems as abstract as Last Year at Marienbad, with a similar undersong of affectless sensuality when the few female characters enter the picture. Unmissable.
This is a great example of use of cinematic form in accordance to its subject: you can only truly see the senseless of war in a film where characters are all inconsequential, where there are no heroes, no bad and good, and it all seems pointless, disorienting and confusing and that’s because it exactly is like that; war is not a glorious narrative, it's a detached image with no protagonist and antagonist,only victims
War as imagined by children? It made me think of children lining up toy soldiers. There is also a sadomasochistic element, turning executions into a kind of game where the condemned have to undress and run so they can be hunted down by their killers. I didn't find it so visually or conceptually interesting. Dull.
The Red and the White by Miklós Jancsó is a heavy-hearted film capturing the war-torn era of the Russian Civil War. Portraying the struggle and sorrow of war, the film follows Hungarian prisoners who fight along the Bolsheviks, in hopes of returning to their homeland. For those unfamiliar with the Russian Civil War, this film is a great reminder of the men in history who risked their lives seeking a better future.
This is what happens when you let men be in charge. Unlike his other films, this one puts you right in the action. Which just adds to the chaos. "Come here. Come here. Go away. Go away." Jancso is a masterful choreographer. My favorite scene might be at the 39 minute mark when Krystyna Mikolajewska is running towards the river legs akimbo. She's like a child, innocent in this crazy game with no rules.
Form echoing content - Jancso establishing the conflict and tension between the 'Red' revolutionaries and 'White' counter-rebels with long takes and no close-ups until the denouement. The detached control parallels the ethos of the 'White' infantrymen. One of the most influential masters of film form and cinematic objectivity.