Come and See Screen 4 articles

Come and See

1985

Come and See Poster
  • This intense sequence . . . encapsulates many of the strongest qualities of Elem Klimov’s film, in particular its ability to shift tone, visual perspective and viscerally approximate the physical, mental, social and cultural conditions of life in Nazi-occupied Byelorussia in 1943. The young woman’s look back at this image of horror, almost Biblical or medieval in its intensity and scale, rhymes with many other looks, gazes and shifts of scale and perspective which dot and define the film.

  • A film of shifting perspectives, it primarily owes its power to Flyora’s dominant viewpoint, which cements the audience’s identification with him... What separates Klimov’s film from other child’s-eye views of war—including Andrei Tarkovsky’s Ivan’s Childhood, to which it is a partial response—is its transcending of the confining properties of its frame.

  • Florya wants to go off to war; instead it comes to him. This distinction is important, establishing this as a film about results rather than desires. There’s no room for valor or heroism here, since these are the feelings which stir violent impulses and sentimental dreams, just the actual product of those things. So we get burned churches, scorched bodies and chaos, a nauseating feast of carnage that goes overboard in righting the scales away from gallant fantasy and toward brutal realism.

  • It's fitting that the title comes from the Book of Revelations, because Come and See looks like a door to hell has been flung open: a surreal nightmare where all moral stability has evaporated into chaos—even simple tracking shots through mud and forests can make you question your sanity. This is a devastating film, uniting us always with its hero's shellshocked gaze. His inner and outer journeys leave you shattered.

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