Friday, February 26, 2010

Come And See (Idi I Smotri) 1985

The story of a young Belorussian farm boy who leaves his home to what he expects to be pride and glory fighting with the partisans during the German invasion of WWII.  To this point it is very much like an earlier Russian film that I saw and reviewed. Larisa Sheptko's "Ascent" from 1976, a very impressive study of the lengths a people of an occupied area will go to survive. "The Ascent" is not to be missed and may actually be a companion piece that may get you up to speed on the history of the time and area, but it can not fully prepare you for the depth and brutal portrayals of Elem Klimov's "Come And See". Upon initially seeing the boy, played by Aleksi Kravchenko the awkward lad seems to just float on a cloud.  When he finally is impacted by the war his whole life becomes a walk through hell with each level more atrocious then the last.  By the end of the movie, the look in the eyes of the boy reflects the sheer terror that they have seen and his posture shows the burden that his body has come to bear. 
 I cannot say enough about this movie. It's imagery will stay with me for a very long time.  While I highly recommend it, I also must warn that it is not for the timid or squemish.  I have seen many, many war/anti-war movies in my life but none in any language has been as effective as this one.


  1. As someone who likes being affected by movies, I can't wait to see this one, despite the grim subject matter. Everything I've heard about this movie is praise. I've seen a small clip, but I don't think the part I saw did it any justice.

    I'm still excited to see Ascent too! I love movies!

  2. I look forward to hearing what you think. I have turned over my copy to a couple co-workers to get it out there. Make more people aware of this masterpiece.

  3. I cannot help but agree. It is rare that I am this genuinely affected by a film. Often, the effect of a film that hits me this hard is entirely negative--I'm repulsed by it because of its extreme nature (cf. Salo). Here, while the film is brutal and terrible, it is affecting in an entirely different way. It's a film that I expect to stay with me for the rest of my life.

    Kravchenko's performance is a thing of wonder--one of the greatest and most empathetic performances I have ever seen in a film.

    Truly incredible. The look on Florya's eyes at the end of the film is the absolute definition of the 1000-yard stare.

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