He seems younger than his years in early scenes, and much, much older in later ones. Now 17 years older, the actor's fresh-faced pallor in Come and See has hardened, as Germans advance along the Polish border in 1944. I'm not sure if it was intentional that way, but the way that in Persona I always felt as if those moments where this seemingly random footage of Chaplin et al broke through, symbolised their breaking point, I felt as if the seemingly unrelated footage in Come and See was to symbolise a sea change in the war? One of the key sequences in the film is Flyora's and Glasha's marathon trudge through a literal quagmire; after they finally make it through the muddy morass, slogging, splashing and thrashing until they reach land, they are completely covered in its filth, and it seems to drive Flyora temporarily insane. After Flyora learns that his family has been slaughtered he is overcome by an interior rupture and tries to bury his head in a patch of muddy earth. Filmed in long takes that look as uncomfortable to have filmed as they are to watch, the audio in the scene consists mostly of unseen bird chirps and a low-frequency whir. Klimov uses this melancholy unsettling sound effect to alert us to the fateful process, we then have a shot from the plane looking down at the boys on the beach, but the image of them is blurred and distorted German martial music plays incoherently in the background.
By an absurd chance of fate, Florya manages to escape via a window and is cast down alongside the baying soldiers as they casually toss hand grenades into the church and then torch it, incinerating the mass of people inside. I think devastating is a very appropriate word to describe this movie. The scene is lent a further surreal quality by the presence of the cow, which stands nonchalantly grazing amidst the mayhem. The bestial scene inside the packed church is one of unimaginable terror and pandemonium. It's about miserable people in a miserable town struggling to be anything but miserable and failing. Come and See's legacy of portraying the psychological damage of war on children has influenced numerous other films since the Soviet Union's demise.
I recall the professor, speaking about the above-mentioned scene, talking about the beasts and creatures which pervade the German ranks. The opening scene finds Florya and another boy digging in a sandy field. It is unutterably depressing, because history can never undo itself, and is with us forever. Major Sturmbannfuhrer, is a suave, heartless beast not a million miles distant from Tarantino's Col. I wanted to see her again, know that she was ok. It's actually one of the first films to truly horrify me whilst watching it, there's something grotesque about the exaggerated and hellish nature of the film which is only compounded by the knowledge that not only did similar events occur but that atrocities unimaginably worse were committed.
Only some close-ups reveal that they bounced some light into cards to get better defined expressions from the actors. Not all movies are meant to be enjoyable, and some fall more obviously into the category of art than entertainment. In the opening scene when young Florya, desperate to join the local partisans and requiring a rifle for admittance, arduously digs a gun out of the sand on a deserted beach, his fate is sealed. In a 1986 interview, Klimov stated that the film was intended to be anti-war and anti-fascist, but not anti-German. Every death takes place offscreen, but the atmosphere from the images and some amazing use of sound give you the impression that you have seen it all.
The village elder and certain families are gathered in one of the houses along with a terrified Florya. In an early scene of a German bombing raid, Florya temporarily goes deaf. His detachment embodies power, which is the thing Florya never for a moment possesses throughout the movie. The film itself is really powerful, disturbing and unconventional. We watch as the boy literally ages before our eyes, gaining wrinkles and losing hair color as he faces one trauma after another.
I've been waiting for someone to mention 'Come and See', being incredibly fascinated by the Third Reich and being a cinephile makes the film a perfect match for myself. The Mozart descends into the film like a deus ex machina, to lift us from its despair. It is 1943, Hitler's troops are invading the Soviet republic of Byelorussia, and Florya Aleksey Kravchenko dreams of becoming a heroic partisan and defending his homeland. In addition to filming on location in Belarus, in chronological order, and with dialogue spoken in authentic Belarusian, Russian, and German, live ammunition was used in several scenes instead of blanks, sometimes missing the actors by mere inches. The cow's life was doomed one way or another, but these suggest how utterly incomprehensible death is to the cow. The presence of a cow in one of the most dramatic scenes again shows that animals dumbly wandering into or being lead too close to the darker side of the human condition only deepen the resonance of its destructive capacity. This perceived weakness nagged at Klimov, leaving him with a sense of which he needed to resolve.
His harrowing but sadly all-too plausible experiences make up the rest of the film, resulting in one of the most shocking and powerful chronicles of war and its effects in all of cinema. Yet, in the end, he is left behind because of his age and inexperience. There was a genuine fear that the boy might absorb so much horror he would be left permanently damaged by his experiences. The action takes place on the territory of Belarus in 1943. Then, as Florya races about the shacks and outhouses like a cornered rat, they close in across the folds, their gradual appearance through the fog all the more intimidating. I'm sort of at a loss for words over how amazing I found it.
Klimov gives the viewer no time to take in the scale of the previous scene. According to the director Elem Klimov, audiences became so disturbed by the film that ambulances were sometimes called to treat viewers who had fainted or were suffering from debilitating fits. And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, come and see. Everything on screen seems to be involved in the story, not just the people, but even the animals I am not likely to ever think of a stork the same way after seeing one appear for a minute or two in a very tenacious scene in the movie. I really want to discuss this film. The whole thing with Glasha was wonderful filmmaking, and incredibly powerful.
While Flyora's trauma in Come and See was largely due to the experience of Nazi brutality, in Bastards the motley band of boys face a further trial: an assault on their identity. Technically, the photography isn't first rate, due to the described stylistic choices and techniques. The unpredicted success of Come and See around the world brought him renewed respect, American money and the prospect of further challenging projects. Oleg Yanchenko's score is merciless, filled with the discordant hum of machines that build into a dystopian symphony of broken waltzes and primal screams. Parents and children, old people and infants, are all packed in. Bastards 2006 also draws on the experience of young soldiers, and like Come and See it caused controversy.