Saturday, August 15, 2009

Come and See

Elim Klimov, 1985, Russia (8.4*)
This is one of the more harrowing WW2 films, as it takes place in rural Belorussia as the Nazis invade, turning idyllic, pastoral farmland into a living hell. We see life through the eyes of a teenage boy, named Florya, brilliantly played by Alexei Kravencho, who begins the film digging in the sand for discarded weapons, which he and his friends use for playing war. Soon after, the Nazi invasion comes, and he flees with some armed partisans into the woods. Gradually through the film, his face becomes etched by horror, and his his eyes mirror his internal shock at the atrocities he witnesses.

This has some of the more memorable war scenes in memory. Director Klimov has made the film more immediate and realistic by using high contrast, grainy film and hand-held cameras. You often feel the trees whipping past you as you hike through the forest with partisans to escape the invading army, which is leaving a path of destruction. There’s a particularly frightening one of machine gun fire in the dark on a moonlit night, tracers skimming by just over the head of a prone Florya in the grass.

A warning that this depicts war brutality at its worst, and is not a family film nor one for the squeamish, but for everyone else, a must-see war film that brings the ultimate reality of mankind’s atrocities back to our consciousness once again. One of the best Russian films, #559 on our top ranked films on the net survey.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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