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|Index||381 reviews in total|
221 out of 247 people found the following review useful:
One of the greatest wars films ever made, 29 December 2004
Author: FilmFlaneur from London
One of the greatest of all war films, Klimov's stunning work stands
amongst such works in which the horror and sorrow of conflict are made
fresh over again for the viewer, left to stumble numb from the cinema
thereafter. Produced for the 40th anniversary of Russia's triumph over
the German invaders in WW2, based upon a novella by a writer who was a
teenage partisan during the war, the propagandist use to which it was
later put - when the GDR was still in the Eastern Bloc, citizens were
forced to watch this to warn them of another rise of fascism - does not
impair its effect today at all. It echoes intensity found in another
masterpiece by the director. Klimov's shorter Larissa (1980) is a
remorseful elegy to his late wife. Poetic and very personal, its sense
of shock anticipates the heightened anguish that ultimately
reverberates through Come And See. Through his images, the director
stares uncomprehendingly at a world where lives are removed cruelly and
without reason, if on this occasion not just one, but thousands.
At the heart of the narrative is Floyra, both viewer and victim of the appalling events making up the film's narrative, his history a horrendous coming-of-age story. It begins with him laboriously digging out a weapon to use and much changed at the end, he finally uses one. As he travels from initial innocence, through devastating experience, on to stunned hatred, in a remarkable process he ages before our eyes, both inside and out. His fresh face grows perceptibly more haggard as the film progresses, frequently staring straight back at the camera, as if challenging the viewer to keep watching; or while holding his numbed head, apparently close to mental collapse. Often shot directly at the boy or from his point of view, the formal quality of Klimov's film owes something to Tarkovsky's use of the camera in Ivan's Childhood, although the context is entirely different.
The film's title is from the Book of Revelations, referring to the summoning of witnesses to the devastation brought by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. 'Come and See' is an invitation for its youthful protagonist to arm up and investigate the war, but also one for the audience to tread a similarly terrible path, witnessing with vivid immediacy the Belorussion holocaust at close hand. Here, the intensity of what is on offer justifies amplification by the use of a travelling camera, point-of-view shots, and some startlingly surreal effects pointing up unnatural events: the small animal clinging nervously to the German commander's arm for instance, soundtrack distortions, or the mock Hitler sculpted out of clay and skull.
Main character Floyra is the director's witness to events, a horrified visitor forced, like us to 'see' - even if full comprehension understandably follows more slowly. For instance during their return to the village, there is some doubt as to if Floyra is yet, or will be ever, able to fully acknowledge the nature of surrounding events. In one of the most disturbing scenes out of a film full of them, Glasha's reaction to off-screen smells and sights is profoundly blithe and unsettling. So much so, we wonder for a brief while if the youngsters really know what is going on. Its a watershed of innocence: one look back as the two leave and the reality of the situation would surely overwhelm Floyra - just as later, more explicit horrors do the viewer.
Come And See was not an easy shoot. It lasted over nine months and during the course of the action the young cast were called upon to perform some unpleasant tasks including, at one point, wading up to their necks through a freezing swamp. Kravchenko's face is unforgettable during this and other experiences, and there are claims that he was hypnotised in order to simulate the proper degree of shell shock during one of the major early sequences. The sonic distortion created on the soundtrack at this point later appeared to a lesser extent in Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan, as did elements of a much-commented scene where a cow is caught in murderous crossfire. Klimov's camera ranges through and around the atrocities, although one doubts that a steady cam was available. By the end Florya is isolated from humanity, technically as well as mentally, by a striking shot that excludes the middle foreground. Disturbingly expressionistic though these scenes are, others such as the scene where Florya and the partisan girl Rose visit the forest after the bombing, achieve an eerie lyricism that are however entirely missing from the Hollywood production. And whereas Spielberg's work concludes with a dramatic irony that's perhaps a little too neat, contrived for different audience tastes, Klimov's less accommodating epic finishes on a unique, cathartic moment - no doubt partly chosen to avoid any bathos after events just witnessed, but one which sends real blame back generations.
Hallucinatory, heartrending, traumatic and uncompromising, such a movie will not to be all tastes. It certainly does not make for relaxing viewing, although those who see it often say it remains with them for years after. This was Klimov's last film for, as he said afterwards "I lost interest in making films. Everything that was possible I felt had already been done," no doubt referring to the emotional intensity of his masterpiece, which would be hard to top. By the end of their own viewing, any audience ought to be shocked enough to pick up a rifle themselves and vengefully join the home army setting out to fight the Great Patriotic War - a necessarily stalwart response without limit of participation, symbolised by the director who tracks a camera through the dense forest before finally rejoining a column of soldiers heading to the front. If you feel, like I do, that any real war film should succeed in conveying the power and pity of it all, then Come And See is an absolute go and watch.
165 out of 188 people found the following review useful:
Unbelievable, 14 May 2006
Author: sellery from London, England
The best true-to-life war movie I have ever seen, and possibly the best
movie I have ever seen. My eyes were opened when I saw this for the
first time a few days ago. It made me realise what I miss 99% of the
time when watching movies. So few affect me like this one did.
No special effects of note, no big budget, no set-pieces of note, no heroes, no redemption. I feel quite sure the director has really captured what war 'feels' like - unlike Spielberg and Coppola's depictions of war, this director lived through WW2 and the horrific siege of Stalingrad, as well as spending many months researching the massacres in Belarus, one of which he depicts in this film (this from the DVD extras, well worth watching).
The direction, cinematography, soundtrack and AMAZING acting by a first-time untrained actor in the main role are faultless, in my humble opinion.
I found this film depressing and emotionally draining, but cannot wait to watch it again.
103 out of 117 people found the following review useful:
Apocalypse Then, 5 January 2000
Author: Vlad B. from United States
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In all fairness, this Belorussian-made World War II picture detailing
Nazi atrocities, holds a special distinction in
world cinema: it is by far the most
brutal and emotionally draining of all - in
fact, a viewer whose senses have
not been properly trained would most likely
find it unwatchable. Those
brave souls willing to be put through an
ordeal of almost 2 1/2 hours will
find themselves deeply immersed in an
absolutely horrifying experience that
will not easily subside whether they want it
to or not.
The title, "Come and See", taken from the frequently repeating lines of the book of Revelation, clearly dares the audience to assume the role of St. John, witnessing the Apocalypse, or rather one of the darkest periods in the history of humankind. What we are assaulted with, plays somewhat like a demented version of "Modern Times" transpiring across the panel of Brueghel's "Trimuph of Death", if such a combination is possible. The camera is consistently filtered through a murky, slightly unfocused gaze, and the sound is often heard through shellshocked ears. This tends to eirly distance the events, yet make them even more frightening and unsettling. Much of the dialogue lacks specific meaning or even concrete sentences - it is replaced by subhuman growling, wailing and other spine-chilling, gluttural sounds of the war. What the director prepares is something Spielberg would never even dream of - no sign of compromise with the audience. A crowd of civilian villagers locked up in a barn by Nazi soldiers is not spared at the last minute like "Schindler List's" Jews- they are burned alive, and we get to watch all of it.
Unlike most of the films in this genre, "Come and see" relies mainly on images and sounds instead of a coherent plot, which is not necesserily a weakness, since the sheer terror distorts time and space into a kind of hallucinatory blur, clearly intentional and understandable. But this incredible level of bleak intensity in the long run, has a negative effect on the film: the viewers have to desensitize themselves just so they can keep watching, so the most harrowing scenes are sat through in numbness.
Another questionable move on the director's part is his occasional use of surrealism. While some visuals are painfully believable, while others are simply baffling: crazed villages consructing an effigy of Hitler, a pensive German commander with a pet slender loris (a rare African primate) on his shoulder, a female Nazi eating raw red lobster, not even mentioning a bizzare final montage wich is both inexplicable and obvious, ending with a real-life photograph that is perhaps the most terrifying of all in its implications.
Yes, at times the movie overachieves its goals and seems almost like the footage in "The Clockwork Orange" that they made Alex watch to cure him of "ultraviolent" behaviour; yet other times it delivers the kind of jolts those accustomed to mainstream cinema could only wish they had. The face of a youth who had lost all sanity and aged many decades over several days, will be etched for an indefinite amount of time into the memory of anyone who has seen this film.
75 out of 81 people found the following review useful:
Masterpiece alert!, 3 May 2007
Author: Asa_Nisi_Masa2 from Rome, Italy
Even before the final credits rolled, I strongly suspected this movie
would end up on my Top 20; in fact, perhaps even my Top 10. A teenage
boy, his hearing impaired from having just been at the site of a
bombing, and a young woman clutching at him, the two of them stumbling
and sludging through a slimy, smelly bog. A stork in the woods as it
rains. A cluster of dolls piled up on the floor with flies buzzing all
over the room. You don't need vast, elaborately choreographed battle
scenes to bring home the message of the senselessness and pain of war.
Reading viewers' comments on the movie, it seems that most found the
second half which admittedly contained some of the most powerful
massacre scenes ever filmed as the most "satisfying". A few other
viewers seem to imply the movie doesn't really get going until the
second half. For me, it was the first half that got under my skin the
most, for its cinematic originality, poetry and symbolic power. War is
experienced by civilians as well as by soldiers: this may seem like an
obvious statement, but it's only after watching Come and See that you
realise how few war movies are truly about the suffering of the
ordinary man and woman, defenseless child and frail senior citizen.
Also, never before had I seen the plight of raped women in war so
powerfully conveyed, and all this without the movie ever being
voyeuristic or graphic. In cinema, rape is often portrayed as something
that looks like rough sex. It isn't always quite clear why women get so
upset over it. In Come and See, rape is shown as nothing but pure,
unadulterated, hate-fuelled violence with only a superficial, external
resemblance to sex. Unlike other raped women on film, you cannot
imagine those in Come and See ever healing from their scars.
On another subject, whoever thinks this movie contains "propaganda" is obviously prejudiced against the movie simply because it's a Soviet production, and should think things over a little more carefully. It's astonishing how you can still find little traces of the Cold War mentality surviving to this day, even in younger viewers... The fact that as detractors of Come and See claim, Stalin "was no better than Hitler" has nothing to do with anything at all, in this movie's context - Klimov's picture is NOT about nationalistic oneupmanship on who had the worst tyrant - it's about the basic suffering of ordinary humanity in war - ANY war, though this one happened to be going on in Bielorussia. There was in fact ten times more propaganda in ten minutes of Saving Private Ryan than the whole of Come and See. This is painful, sublime cinema. I've always believed there's something special about Russians when it comes to producing art, especially literature - this movie goes some way towards reinforcing that impression in me.
76 out of 87 people found the following review useful:
Possibly the definitive Russian front film, 11 December 2001
Author: JAM-31 from Los Angeles, CA
"Come and See" is bizarre, disturbing, and haunting. It is more moving and
enlightening than all of the other (mostly disappointing) films I have seen
depicting the Russian front in World War II. Strangely enough, the Red Army
is entirely absent from the movie.
As a Russian film, it begins less conventionally than most films produced in the west. It starts off very surreal, and it is difficult at some points to understand what is going on or what certain characters are doing. This gives the theme a foreign and realistic feel. We follow the life of a peasant boy in Byleorussia in 1943, as he joins the partisans. Certain events involving his family and his introduction to the partisans (especially one involving a young girl) make his fight more personal. Strange interactions between characters and Director Elem Klimov's follow tracking shots dominate the film, and give it a unique method of storytelling. Then the nightmare begins.
The destruction of a Russian village is the horrific centerpiece of the story. It is brutally realistic, with more tracking shots that hold for long periods of time without cutting. We see the German Wehrmacht burn a barn loaded with civilians to the ground as these soldiers clap, smile, and embrace each other. The chaotic action involves many scenes that are sporadic (flames burning out of control, a German soldier accidently shoved into the barn house with the victims) and possibly improvised, which lend a great authenticity to the material. The images are unforgettable, and will stay with you long after you've seen the film. Klimov has succeeded in putting the viewer in the village. Surprisingly, despite coming out of the Soviet Union in 1985, "Come and See" never felt to me like propaganda. There was no communist rhetoric, and the heroes were all partisans, many of which were flawed. The Germans aren't caricatures at the same time they commit acts of evil, and view their actions in a banal way. When one of them defends the atrocities of his platoon, he states, "inferior races spread the microbes of communism." The character delivers this line not with fierce anger, but with nonchalance, as if it were common knowledge, not something that he needs to explain to anyone.
Some reviews have criticized the "afterthought," a rewind of the Nazi rise to power and invasion of Europe, as unnecessary. It may be, but it is still powerful. Other "flaws" people find with the movie are all characteristics of the director's style, therefore I don't find them flaws. "Come and See" is a great, very different, and very moving film. Grade: "A-"
93 out of 123 people found the following review useful:
Awesome , powerful and brutal., 20 February 2001
Author: Rob Halpin from London, England
Come and See , well if you hate violence and brutality then you certainly wont want to see this. This Picture set in 1943 occupied Byelorussia is most probably the most true to life war movie ever, only Saving Private Ryan and Schindlers List can come close. What is amazing in this picture , is how the director uses a child's perspective and view in circumstances that you can only describe as evil. The director pulls no punches in how bad times actually were for peasents and partisans alike as German and collaborators show the viewer how low and depraved a fascist military machine actually is.
I dont want to go into the plot , as this film is a MUST for anyone who considers themselves a film buff. Disturbing and terrifying scenes do not in anyway spoil the flow of the film , but when viewing this film , please desist from seeing this movie in the early evening , as you wont sleep.
The acting accolades of course goes to the main characters , but I wish to give a special mention for the Russian Partisan Commander , who was just simply , superb. Everything about him was what you'd expect a Red Army Officer to be. The looks , the attitude and the steely determination is simply a credit to the actor. The best scene involving the Red Army Commander was when they had captured an Einsatgruppen Unit , and the SS soldier , who knew they were facing death was allowed to speak , after there own Commanding Officer was pleading pitifully for his own life. The SS soldier tells his captors that they are sub-human and that there peasent belief in Marxism was grounds enough that they should be eradicated. The Red Army Commander then in just a few words tells his men , that they are not just fighting for Socialism , but also the right to exist.What happens after...well you'll have to see.
Come and See is nothing short of disturbing, awesome, powerful and brutal. This is the best film I have ever seen regarding films portraying the Eastern Front 1941-1945 war. This film should be engraved in gold as the standard for any budding war film director. Only Saving Private Ryan and Schindlers List can be put in the same League table.
68 out of 79 people found the following review useful:
Death, destruction and despair, 25 June 2001
There's not much one can say about this movie, besides "Be warned, it's going to hurt you - a lot". The story is simple: Byelorussia in 1943 and it's Hell on the Earth. The Nazis are fighting a no-quarter-given-or-asked war against huge Soviet partisan units, and the population is caught in between (historically the German security forces destroyed hundred of Byelorussian villages murdering most of the population in the effort to "clear" the rear of Third Panzer Army). Those who haven't been deported or killed by the Nazis are trying to join the partisans. One of them is Florya, a young boy - and in his quest to "join the fight" he get much more he had bargained for. It's a movie about an apocalyptic world (the title is taken from the Book of Revelation, a most of the movie looks like it has been filmed on another planet), but unfortunately it was all-real. The emotional centre of the movie is a lengthy sequence involving the destruction of a village, with all the sickening (but not exploitative) details shown with cold determination. There's no catharsis (this is not Schindler's List!), no hope, no redemption - even the eventual revenge against the village's destroyers become just a sad and murderous business. "Come And See" is a difficult, violent and surprisingly poetic movie, compared to which even classics like "Saving Private Ryan" (Spielberg payed a homage to this movie on SPR's beginning) or "The Thin Red Line" seems just artificial. This is the real thing!
63 out of 71 people found the following review useful:
Jaw-droppingly powerful and truly disturbing Russian war drama., 6 July 2006
Author: HumanoidOfFlesh from Chyby, Poland
"Come and See" has to be one of the most powerful war movies ever made.It left me emotionally drained.The film tells the story of 12-year-old Florya(Alexi Kravchenko),whose desire is to join his countrymen in the battle against the fascists.His enthusiasm is written all over his face:in the opening scenes,which show Florya's recruitment by partisan soldiers,he wears the blissed-out smile of a hopeful child.After a bombardment,which leaves him temporarily deaf,he is left behind and stumbles across Glasha(Olga Mironova),who has also been abandoned.Together they return to his village, the atrocities witnessed there anticipating horrors to come."Come and See" is a deeply unsettling film.It's hallucinatory,hellish,traumatizing and uncompromising.There's an aura of profound sadness here,as Florya ages dramatically over the course of the story's events.The film's most disturbing sequence revolves around the raising of one village and the slaughter of most of its inhabitants.The acting is excellent,the cinematography is stunning and the use of Mozart on the soundtrack is particularly effective.10 out of 10.A must-see!
63 out of 74 people found the following review useful:
And I heard one of the four living creatures saying, as with a voice of thunder..., 25 September 2006
Author: MacAindrais from Canada
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Come and See (1985)****
I first saw this movie a couple of years ago. I didn't really know what to think of it at first. The soundtrack on the DVD is a little messy and the acting was a bit strange. I knew it had affected me though in a way that not many other movies had. As time went by I began to realize just how much of an impact the movie had on me. It really, really stuck with me. One night, while writing a review of Errol Morris's latest documentary "Fog of War", I found myself thinking more and more about Come and See, and decided that I had to watch it again immediately. I ran out after midnight and rented it, and watched it 3 times or so over the next week. I started to see why the film had been haunting me and sticking around my thoughts. The reason was that this movie is simply a masterpiece.
Elem Klimov directs the film, starring Aleksei Kravchenko as Florya, a young boy who desires to fight with the Partisan's army against the invading Nazi army. He digs until he finds a rifle, then the next day he is off to a camp in the middle of the woods. The scene is chaotic it seems and unorganized. The fighters try to take a photo that takes about 5 minutes to accomplish because everyone keeps messing up their positions. Florya spots Glasha (Olga Mironova), a young girl, who has the younger fighters swooning over her, and who also seems to have some sort of relationship with the leader of the camp. What that relationship is exactly we never find out. Florya gets left behind on the attack because he is perhaps too young, and besides another older fighter needs some new boots, and swaps with the new kid. .
The anxious Florya is upset by this decision and he takes to the woods for some solitude, he cries and then discovers that near by Glasha is also crying at being left at the camp, more so for being left alone than behind. The two begin to bond and end up in an open field when German planes attack and begin to bomb the encampment. The scenes that follow next teeter on the brink of madness on film. Come and See is likely one of the most maddening films ever made for that matter. The key is the soundtrack. Florya is struck deaf for a few moments by the bombs. Sounds are muffled, but not like anything you've ever seen in a Hollywood film. The soundtrack is a mix of strange ringing and sounds and music, adding to the atmosphere of chaos that the two youngsters have now been thrown into. Much of the film has this style of soundtrack, which makes the Florya's descent into madness much more poignant.
The film movies forward from here back to Florya's village which has now been deserted. The two head to an island on the other side of a bog where Florya believes the town is hiding along with his mother and sisters. The scene where they climb through the mud is another example of Florya losing his mind. The soundtrack again becomes ambient and menacing in its strange blends of sounds. They eventually find some villagers and Florya now even more loses his sanity, along with some of his hair, which is given to recreate a statue of Hitler. This will be the last time we see Glasha in the movie, as Florya goes with a party to collect food for the starving people.
The most famous scene, and the one that will likely never leave you, is of a village being ransacked by Nazi soldiers. The scene is chaotic and culminates in a barn stuffed with the townspeople being burned and shot apart. Another one of the most famous shots from the movie is of Florya shooting a photo of Hitler, each bullet making time reverse. The photo goes back in time until it is a picture of Hitler as a baby on his mothers lap. He is an innocent infant, and Florya cannot bring himself to fire another shot. These shots are incredibly powerful and they stick in your mind.
Obviously, Come and See was filmed with influences of Soviet Propaganda in it, but it hardly matters because it is so well made and so maddening you can't help but be totally absorbed by the experience. The movie has a hypnotic quality about it, and without being horrifying because it's a jump out of your seat surprise bloodbath, it is horrifying in its representation of the cruelty people are capable of in war.
I can't remember ever seeing another film that expressed the descent into madness any better and being so involving as Come and See. By the end of the film, you feel like you've just experienced what it must be like to lose your mind. The film never goes into the desensitizing of violence in war. Instead it focuses on the violence which causes those who witness to become desensitized from the madness of its cruelty.
Elem Klimov created this film out of his actors and their emotions, and essentially used the viewer as another character. This movie draws you in and makes you experience exactly what the characters must. There are few other films that do that to you, especially to the extent that this one does it. And for that, Come and See is not only a masterpiece, it's really one of the best films you'll ever see. Find it, but don't just watch it. Allow it to take you in; even if that means you have to see it a couple times. Let it take you in, and you're in for an experience rarely found in cinema anymore
47 out of 58 people found the following review useful:
Come And See If You Dare:, 23 April 2005
Author: Galina from Virginia, USA
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"The film concerns the Nazi policy of "total annihilation" in the republic of Byelorussia (now known as Belarus or White Russia, adjacent to Poland) in 1943. The racial policy of the Nazis was to eliminate all "inferior races" such as Jews and Slavs from Eastern Europe and to make land available for German settlement in the east (Lebensraum). Because of the importance of Eastern Europe to Nazi policy the bulk of the German Army was sent to the eastern rather than the western front. Estimated that 20 million or more Russians (by Russians I mean the people of many nationalities that included Russians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Jews and many others who used to live on the Soviet territories occupied by Germans during 1941-1943) died fighting Hitler (recent estimates place figure 25-30 million). Units of the SS (Schutzstaffel) and SD (Sicherheitsdienst) were used to carry out the genocide. The SD was separated from the main body of the German Army (Wehrmacht) and made up of fanatical Nazis and fascist East European (often from the Baltic) collaborators."
Elem Klimov's and Ales Adamovich's Film is perhaps one of the most powerful and horrifying films about the war (I would add Tarkovsky's "The Childhood of Ivan" aka "Ivanovo Detstvo" and Mikhail Romm's documentary "Obyknovenny Fascism" aka "Ordinary Fascism" aka "Triumph Over Violence").
Not for a moment would the film let the viewer relax. With each scene, the feeling of horror increases. We are transformed into the main character, 16 year old boy Florya. We are forced to see with his eyes, to hear with his ears. In the beginning of the film, Florya is a child. At the end, after having witnessed the unspeakable terrors of the fascists, he becomes an adult, and not just an adult an old man. His face is the face of War and it is to us, the viewers, authors say come and look in this face if you dare.
War unmistakably selects as its victims the weakest, the youngest and the tenderest - the authors could not go against this truth. In the military camp, Florya meets the young girl, Glasha. Together, they try to make their way to the village where his family lived. But no one is there, it is empty - it is burnt out.
And again some force pushes Florya, Glasha and us to go further. But where? To the shed where the women and the children are burning alive? Into the hands of the rapists- fascists? Or to be photographed with the revolver put at your temple, surrounded by the laughing SS-men? Is there any way out of the Inferno of War?
The mystery of the final episode Florya can not force himself to shoot the child at the photograph sitting at his mother's lap. Even if the child's name is Adolph Hitler. Florya puts his rifle down. The clear blue sky is above him. Sounds Mozart's "Requiem". What is this? Victory? Or defeat? Did Florya survive or did he perish like millions and millions during the endless days, months, and years of the worst war the humankind had known? Even if survived physically, he is a changed forever man, the man who looked triumphant death and horror in the eye for too long to ever forget them.
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