Though Andrei Tarkovsky’s canon consisted of only seven features, three student films, one documentary and a couple of stage plays and there were more unrealized projects than filmed ones, each of the ideas that were completed were gems and remain unparalleled to date. Looking back, each one seems hand picked and “sculpted” second by second and without doubt, the experience just improves with multiple viewings. Of course, Tarkovsky means different things to different people and the section just attempts to give a universal outline of the projects.

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Tarkovsky“My discovery of Tarkovsky’s first film was like a miracle. Suddenly, I found myself standing at the door of a room the keys of which had, until then, never been given to me. It was a room I had always wanted to enter and where he was moving freely and fully at ease. I felt encouraged and stimulated: someone was expressing what I had always wanted to say without knowing how. Tarkovsky is for me the greatest, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream.”

Ingmar Bergman (1918 – 2007)

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Idi I Smotri (1985) (aka Come And See)
Elem Klimov

“Flor, My dear child! They killed your folks!”

Come And SeeDuring a war, more than armies and governments, it is the children who are affected most. The images of the atrocities and violence in the war makes an impact that is life-changing for them. The subject of children of war has been a less tackled one when it comes to Cinema. Andrei Tarkovsky’s Ivan’s childhood (1962) gave as an immensely personal account of war as seen by the title character. Another critical film on the same subject is Elem Klimov’s Idi I Smotri (1985). The film is hailed as one of the best anti-war films for its depiction of the influence of war on children.

It’s World War 2 and Hitler is plundering in the western borders. Florya is called for military service against the wishes of his mother. The youngest at the camp, he is left behind by the troops. He meets another young girl the camp and both of them try to run from the onslaught of the German flights and paratroops. There is this beautiful scene here where both of them play and dance in the rain amidst all the bombings- A scenic reminder that children are after all, children. The journey continues to Florya’s home where he discovers that his family has been killed. Responsibilities increase and Florya goes in search of food for the villagers and survives a series of ordeals that kills all of his mates during the journey. Meanwhile, the resistance forces manage to capture the German troops and the latter is exterminated without consideration.

The climactic scene where Florya continuously fires at a portrait of Hitler is cross-cut with the footage of the rise of Hitler played in reverse. This powerful sequence shows how Florya has been affected by war and all the mishaps he wants to undo. A fantastic performance by Alexei Kravchenko as Florya and disturbing scenes such as the bonfire of people and the the crossfire across barren field that kills Florya’s mates (Believe it or not, a real cow was killed for the scene) won this film the Golden Prize at the Moscow Film Festival in 1985.