A film-in-film story set in a provincial town in Russia. Pasha (Churikova) is an amateur actress who plays a witch at a local club, but her dream is to play Joan of Arc. In a strike of luck... See full summary »
This film, aptly titled "I Come from My Childhood" (a quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery), is a deeply moving, heartfelt, lyrical memory piece about wartime childhood. Making very effective use of a distinctive cinematic idiom of the 1960s, the filmmakers authentically recreate the sights and sounds of a half-ruined town in recently liberated Belorussia where life is gradually returning to normal in 1945. The focus is on children, undernourished, poorly clothed, and emotionally scarred. Yet they have not given up their dreams and hopes and are making plans for a peaceful future. The film wonderfully captures the spirit of wartime friendship, solidarity, and common sacrifice. There is a refreshing harmony in the way this close-knit community is coping with the devastation and losses, clearing the wreckage, and rebuilding the houses.
Yet this film delivers so much more than just a realistic depiction of living and growing up in wartime (which can be found in many other movies). What makes this film really special is the unusually warm and gentle manner in which the man's childhood experiences and impressions are conveyed to us. We are immediately captivated by these children and adults with their open hearts and minds, straightforward ways, and genuine concern for others. There's no posturing, no pretense, no falseness. Just simple and honest living.
The casting is absolutely flawless. Young Vladimir Kolodkin is excellent as the main character, Zhenya. The boy's open, sensitive, somewhat naive, expressive face perfectly fits the gentle, lyrical mood of the film. Nina Urgant brilliantly captures the warmth and integrity of Zhenya's mother. The legendary actor, poet, and singer Vladimir Vysotsky gives a strong and compelling performance as a jovial, virile, scar-faced tankman. His powerful, evocative songs, some of which he sings himself, make the soundtrack truly unforgettable.
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