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Come and See

The title, "Come and See," sounds as if it could be an invitation to a kid's pastime, but nothing could be further from the truth of this movie. Head of the Soviet Filmmakers' Association, Klimov explores war's horrors in this new classic, eloquently tapping a hallucinatory nether world of blood, mud, and escalating madness, somewhat similar to how Coppola showed a world torn by war in "Apocalypse Now." Eliciting a remarkably vivid performance from a newcomer, teenaged lead, Klimov achieves visual poetry; in this, he parallels his compatriot, Andrei Konchalovsky, in his epic, "Siberiade."

"Come and See," is an impassioned, pastoral indictment of Nazis, with haunting images of World War II as seen through a 14-year-old farm boy's eyes. Kravchenko has never acted before, and, in fact, was hypnotized during filming to transform him from a rosy-faced young boy into a wizened, hollow-eyed witness of genocide.

The movie begins with Florya stealing a gun from a soldier's grave to join Resistance fighters in rural Byelorussia as they try to hold back ruthless storm troopers. But after being left behind by older partisans, Florya goes home, and finds his mother and baby sisters slaughtered, along with all the other villagers. Grieving, he travels to nearby Perekhody, where he watches drunken Germans herd townspeople into a barn and burn them alive. Stunned, Florya escapes physical harm, but his soul is destroyed, his innocence is destroyed, and he suffers agony torn from his nation's core.

Klimov goes a little far in portraying Nazis as maniacal, slobbering demons. An avid liberal, he sympathizes more with communists than fascists when he has a Nazi prisoner explain why his countrymen burned Byelorussian babies: "Your nation doesn't have a right to exist; inferior races spread the microbe of communism," he snarls.

"Come and See" indicts war in general, and WWII's ravages on Russia specifically, and paints its images eloquently and memorably.
Director(s): Elem Klimov
Writer(s): Elem Klimov
Cast: Alexei Kravchenko, Olga Mironova
Release Date: 1987   
Keyword: Genocide; Russian resistence; Nazi slaughter;
Target Age: 15+   Category: war and peace
Documentary: no
Language: Russian with English subtitles   Reviewer's Name: Micah
Review: http://MRQE
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