In the photo scattered through the line of people several red details stand out. Constant is a big fan of red and in most of his paintings you will find a detail of that colour, whether it is a collar, a flag, a seat, shoes, lips or, more gruesome, a puddle of blood. In this painting he gathers the scattered red details from the photo and merges them into one red jacket midway the convoi.
Smaller than the figures surrounding it, the jacket is obviously worn by a child. It evokes the image of another red jacket. That of the small girl in the movie, Schindler’s List, which stands out because the entire movie is in black and white. In the movie seeing the little girl in the red coat amidst the horror of the deportation of the Kraków Ghetto elicits a pivotal moment for Oskar Schindler, the movie’s protagonist. He brakes down emotionally when the scope of the Nazi scheme sinks in. This consequently propels him into his quest to use his factory to save as many Jews from extermination as he can.
It is unclear whether Constant has seen Schindler’s List. All the same, the one child in the red coat creates a sense of personification. By lifting out one child amongst the masses the painter and the cinematographer allow the spectator to connect to and emphathise with the suffering. It gives the victims a face.