During WWII, Soviet orphan Ivan Bondarev strikes up a friendship with three sympathetic Soviet officers while working as a scout behind the German lines.During WWII, Soviet orphan Ivan Bondarev strikes up a friendship with three sympathetic Soviet officers while working as a scout behind the German lines.During WWII, Soviet orphan Ivan Bondarev strikes up a friendship with three sympathetic Soviet officers while working as a scout behind the German lines.
"Childhood of Ivan" requires the use of your brain and imagination, but it is in no way a difficult film. Once you accept not understanding everything right now, just relax and follow the images and sounds and you are ready for the "Childhood of Ivan".
As I said before the film uses many ellipses to show Ivan's fractured life - he plays in the fields, his mother calls him and smiles; a water well, he stares down at the water and his mother stands beside him and tells a story about the stars; we hear a gun shot, someone lying on the grass; Ivan is wading through a swamp to reach a soviet army unit.
The war is not shown at all - it is suggested. We only see the enemy soldiers once for a brief moment. And two hanged men is all there is to denounce the carnage of the war. The rest is suggested by unfinished speeches, by faces where pain is followed right after by the desire to live and be happy......
Ivan's memories: His mother, his sister and their games, the beach, the sea and the rain, his captivity - his life, a broken life. Nothing remained for him in life but to fight - to fight against the enemy that had taken everything from him.
I repeat that "Childhood of Ivan" is not a partisan film, it doesn't try to demonize the adversaries. I would call it much more an intimist film, somewhat in the vein of "Les Jeux Interdits", but Ivan's childhood was over after the horrors he had to go through; his only way to survive as a human being was to fight the horror that had crippled his life, while the children of "Les Jeux Interdits" went on with their children games in spite of the war. France, because of her fast surrender, was preserved from the butchery inflicted on the Soviet Union.
I recommend this film to everyone who wants to see a paradoxically sad, beautiful, reflexive and passionate film.
- May 17, 2007