A psychological hue which resembles that of blood evoked in the human observer.
Red is a short experimental psychodrama about war and the guilt it manifests. Director Simone Smith got her idea from war photographer Don McCullin – a self-confessed “war junkie” who admits to questioning his conscience constantly. Someone who is honest to the core about his guilt for taking photos of victims suffering during war, yet is completely affected by them and drawn towards the chaos.
I was very interested in the complexities of that experience and it got me thinking about how I personally felt as I consumed that end stage of the war photographer’s work… On a typical day I would read newspapers and news sites…Finding the images of wars shocking yet admiring their aesthetic qualities… reading mixed comments by readers such as ‘WOW amazing photo’, ‘horrible ‘, ‘Beautiful capture’, ‘so sad’, ‘awesome composition’… finding it surreal that in one breath we could praise the aesthetics and condemn the brutality. Then i’d escape by turning my attention to the next news story.
The experimental state of Smith’s film allowed her to explore emotional values from a completely different angle. With this she was able to play with the film’s content even during the shoot, adding some spontaneity from the actors and direction itself.
When I began writing red, the situation between photographer, soldier and victim was to be straightforward… I didn’t know exactly what I was trying to say or ask at this stage, I just felt affected enough by the scenario and wanted to explore this on the shoot with the actors… As it developed (and very much improvised)…an unexpected mixture of excitement and anger came pouring out of soldiers… Then guilt manifested from that, from both them and the photographer. That’s what felt real and that’s what I tried to express in the edit.
The film is psychologically shocking, and beautifully sad. Simone Smith hit it right on with the emotions.