Rojo Y Negro (Red and Black) DVD (Carlos Arevalo 1942)
The National Spanish Film Institute holds over six-hundred features devoted to the Spanish Civil War (1936-1940). Some 460 are committed to the Republic that lost the war, while only 126 are faithful to the Falangist forces that won it. Of the latter, Carlos Arevalo’s Rojo y Negro (Red and Black, so named for the colors of the fascist flag) is perhaps the finest. It is certainly the rarest. This is the story of a Spanish journey, from the dawn of new hope (the Spanish Republic), through descent into the nightmare of fratricidal madness, to the victory of Generalissimo Franco and the establishment of the Franco dictatorship.
Most films merely tell a story. Highly entertaining though they may be, they are soon forgotten. An audience wants to be told a story and often doesn’t care how it’s told, but how it’s told is what turns movie entertainment into cinematic art. Red and Black is one of these. It stands the test of time. Its images linger in the mind. Extended montage sequences, indebted to Soviet cinema’s shock-editing techniques, masterfully condense the entirety of the civil war into short narrative bursts—press clippings, terrorist attacks, street riots, assassinations, torched crops, demolished churches, even fragments of Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin—all within a context of restless, dazzling cinematography and lyrical passages reminiscent of the Italian neo-realist films of the later 1940s.
Red and Black was premiered in Madrid on May 25, 1942. Because director Carlos Arevalo chose to portray both sides sympathetically, Francisco Franco withdrew the picture only three weeks later. Its only documented screenings thereafter were in Berlin in July and in Madrid in November. It remained banned until the end of the Franco regime in 1975. Believed lost for many years, it survives—with all its bold, visual flourishes—as a reminder of why so many rose against the Spanish Republic.
Directed by Clos Arevalo. Starring Conchita Montenegro, Ismael Merlo, Rafaela Satorres. Spain, 1942, B&W, 76 mins. Spanish dialogue, English subtitles.
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES
- 1942 Venice Film Festival Booklet
- Spanish Civil War Red Terrorism Photos
NTSC Region 0 encoding (Entire World)