The State

Today we saw two films: Daisies (1966) and The Red and the White (1967). As we discussed, in both films, the state becomes an important concept that we hadn’t yet seen in our films. More or less, the films of the European New Wave, such as Breathless, Cleo from 5 to 7, and Persona, and the American ones, particularly are more or less about personal experiences. But since the films in Eastern Europe were made under a starkly different political system than Sweden, France, and the United States.


One of the reasons you saw a film as daring as Daises in the 1960s was because of the lead up to the Prague Spring in 1968. There was a degree of liberalization happening in Czechoslovakia that made for a brief period of innovative filmmaking. However, as Thompson and Bordwell explain, the movement was short lived and many of the films made under that regime were banned after the Soviet suppression in 1968. Nevertheless, the state was a subject in each of these films. However, in no time do you see any explicit references to the state in the film, perhaps with the exception of the old men the sisters take to dinner.

As for The Red and the White, we are beginning to see some of the patterns of what makes the film great. You see the cruelty of the armies battling each other. You see the lack of focus on a single character. You see the anticipation of brutality in each scene, as it unfolds and then we pass on to another. And, of course, you see the camera function as an witness to all of the battle between an amalgam of people fighting in the Russian Civil War.

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