This film successfully shows a different perspective of a war where religion is centered, and the women are both warriors and marginalised. While the more violent scenes are present throughout the film the female-driven cast shows the equally lighter sides of the family which they find in each other, although from vast backgrounds.
It was interesting; during the happier scenes with the women, the suspense of the film made me half expect something horrible to happen and when it doesn’t, and I was relieved. It probably comes from watching a lot of war films where the happiness tends to be cut short to remind us of the reality of war. But this story is not about the action of war, but the humans involved. The most powerful scenes in the film tended to be the emotional and heavier injustices towards them, particularly Zara.
The scenery and events that take place show sincerity through the camera, there is no spectacle or over-exaggeration in the visual style which many war films utilise. This doesn’t impact the story, it in fact compliments the female-orientated vision. Utilising the camera in such ways that treat the audience as intelligent equals. As an example, the opening scene shows Zara and her brothers in a field of poppies. While they are happy, and the scenery is beautiful and calming. The visual representation of the poppy is one of wartime and used to remember those who died on the battlefield.
There is a lot in this film and Fourest’s writing and directing style is a pleasure to watch. Her ability to mix the emotional, nurturing, and warm female elements with the harsh realities of war was a powerful reminder of the diversity and stringency involved. She has credits in directing documentaries and visually this is seen in this film. Both taking advantage of the fictional camera and the ‘untouched’ camera of documentary filmmaking.
OPERATION RED SNAKE is, as one of the French female soldiers says, the all-female platoon was a “feminist revolution.” Equally brilliant in its filmmaking and telling of the female perspective of this particular war. Following the true story, the pace, tension, and emotional journey keep the audience engaged from the beginning to the very last scene. Fourest’s vision is inspirational and truly deserves to be praised for weaving such an intricate tapestry of stories.