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Masterpiece alert!
Asa_Nisi_Masa23 May 2007
Even before the final credits rolled, I strongly suspected this movie would end up on my Top 20; in fact, perhaps even my Top 10. A teenage boy, his hearing impaired from having just been at the site of a bombing, and a young woman clutching at him, the two of them stumbling and sludging through a slimy, smelly bog. A stork in the woods as it rains. A cluster of dolls piled up on the floor with flies buzzing all over the room. You don't need vast, elaborately choreographed battle scenes to bring home the message of the senselessness and pain of war. Reading viewers' comments on the movie, it seems that most found the second half – which admittedly contained some of the most powerful massacre scenes ever filmed – as the most "satisfying". A few other viewers seem to imply the movie doesn't really get going until the second half. For me, it was the first half that got under my skin the most, for its cinematic originality, poetry and symbolic power. War is experienced by civilians as well as by soldiers: this may seem like an obvious statement, but it's only after watching Come and See that you realise how few war movies are truly about the suffering of the ordinary man and woman, defenseless child and frail senior citizen. Also, never before had I seen the plight of raped women in war so powerfully conveyed, and all this without the movie ever being voyeuristic or graphic. In cinema, rape is often portrayed as something that looks like rough sex. It isn't always quite clear why women get so upset over it. In Come and See, rape is shown as nothing but pure, unadulterated, hate-fuelled violence with only a superficial, external resemblance to sex. Unlike other raped women on film, you cannot imagine those in Come and See ever healing from their scars.

On another subject, whoever thinks this movie contains "propaganda" is obviously prejudiced against the movie simply because it's a Soviet production, and should think things over a little more carefully. It's astonishing how you can still find little traces of the Cold War mentality surviving to this day, even in younger viewers... The fact that as detractors of Come and See claim, Stalin "was no better than Hitler" has nothing to do with anything at all, in this movie's context - Klimov's picture is NOT about nationalistic oneupmanship on who had the worst tyrant - it's about the basic suffering of ordinary humanity in war - ANY war, though this one happened to be going on in Bielorussia. There was in fact ten times more propaganda in ten minutes of Saving Private Ryan than the whole of Come and See. This is painful, sublime cinema. I've always believed there's something special about Russians when it comes to producing art, especially literature - this movie goes some way towards reinforcing that impression in me.
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One of the greatest wars films ever made
FilmFlaneur29 December 2004
One of the greatest of all war films, Klimov's stunning work stands amongst such works in which the horror and sorrow of conflict are made fresh over again for the viewer, left to stumble numb from the cinema thereafter. Produced for the 40th anniversary of Russia's triumph over the German invaders in WW2, based upon a novella by a writer who was a teenage partisan during the war, the propagandist use to which it was later put - when the GDR was still in the Eastern Bloc, citizens were forced to watch this to warn them of another rise of fascism - does not impair its effect today at all. It echoes intensity found in another masterpiece by the director. Klimov's shorter Larissa (1980) is a remorseful elegy to his late wife. Poetic and very personal, its sense of shock anticipates the heightened anguish that ultimately reverberates through Come And See. Through his images, the director stares uncomprehendingly at a world where lives are removed cruelly and without reason, if on this occasion not just one, but thousands.

At the heart of the narrative is Floyra, both viewer and victim of the appalling events making up the film's narrative, his history a horrendous coming-of-age story. It begins with him laboriously digging out a weapon to use and much changed at the end, he finally uses one. As he travels from initial innocence, through devastating experience, on to stunned hatred, in a remarkable process he ages before our eyes, both inside and out. His fresh face grows perceptibly more haggard as the film progresses, frequently staring straight back at the camera, as if challenging the viewer to keep watching; or while holding his numbed head, apparently close to mental collapse. Often shot directly at the boy or from his point of view, the formal quality of Klimov's film owes something to Tarkovsky's use of the camera in Ivan's Childhood, although the context is entirely different.

The film's title is from the Book of Revelations, referring to the summoning of witnesses to the devastation brought by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. 'Come and See' is an invitation for its youthful protagonist to arm up and investigate the war, but also one for the audience to tread a similarly terrible path, witnessing with vivid immediacy the Belorussion holocaust at close hand. Here, the intensity of what is on offer justifies amplification by the use of a travelling camera, point-of-view shots, and some startlingly surreal effects pointing up unnatural events: the small animal clinging nervously to the German commander's arm for instance, soundtrack distortions, or the mock Hitler sculpted out of clay and skull.

Main character Floyra is the director's witness to events, a horrified visitor forced, like us to 'see' - even if full comprehension understandably follows more slowly. For instance during their return to the village, there is some doubt as to if Floyra is yet, or will be ever, able to fully acknowledge the nature of surrounding events. In one of the most disturbing scenes out of a film full of them, Glasha's reaction to off-screen smells and sights is profoundly blithe and unsettling. So much so, we wonder for a brief while if the youngsters really know what is going on. Its a watershed of innocence: one look back as the two leave and the reality of the situation would surely overwhelm Floyra - just as later, more explicit horrors do the viewer.

Come And See was not an easy shoot. It lasted over nine months and during the course of the action the young cast were called upon to perform some unpleasant tasks including, at one point, wading up to their necks through a freezing swamp. Kravchenko's face is unforgettable during this and other experiences, and there are claims that he was hypnotised in order to simulate the proper degree of shell shock during one of the major early sequences. The sonic distortion created on the soundtrack at this point later appeared to a lesser extent in Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan, as did elements of a much-commented scene where a cow is caught in murderous crossfire. Klimov's camera ranges through and around the atrocities, although one doubts that a steady cam was available. By the end Florya is isolated from humanity, technically as well as mentally, by a striking shot that excludes the middle foreground. Disturbingly expressionistic though these scenes are, others such as the scene where Florya and the partisan girl Rose visit the forest after the bombing, achieve an eerie lyricism that are however entirely missing from the Hollywood production. And whereas Spielberg's work concludes with a dramatic irony that's perhaps a little too neat, contrived for different audience tastes, Klimov's less accommodating epic finishes on a unique, cathartic moment - no doubt partly chosen to avoid any bathos after events just witnessed, but one which sends real blame back generations.

Hallucinatory, heartrending, traumatic and uncompromising, such a movie will not to be all tastes. It certainly does not make for relaxing viewing, although those who see it often say it remains with them for years after. This was Klimov's last film for, as he said afterwards "I lost interest in making films. Everything that was possible I felt had already been done," no doubt referring to the emotional intensity of his masterpiece, which would be hard to top. By the end of their own viewing, any audience ought to be shocked enough to pick up a rifle themselves and vengefully join the home army setting out to fight the Great Patriotic War - a necessarily stalwart response without limit of participation, symbolised by the director who tracks a camera through the dense forest before finally rejoining a column of soldiers heading to the front. If you feel, like I do, that any real war film should succeed in conveying the power and pity of it all, then Come And See is an absolute go and watch.
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sellery14 May 2006
The best true-to-life war movie I have ever seen, and possibly the best movie I have ever seen. My eyes were opened when I saw this for the first time a few days ago. It made me realise what I miss 99% of the time when watching movies. So few affect me like this one did.

No special effects of note, no big budget, no set-pieces of note, no heroes, no redemption. I feel quite sure the director has really captured what war 'feels' like - unlike Spielberg and Coppola's depictions of war, this director lived through WW2 and the horrific siege of Stalingrad, as well as spending many months researching the massacres in Belarus, one of which he depicts in this film (this from the DVD extras, well worth watching).

The direction, cinematography, soundtrack and AMAZING acting by a first-time untrained actor in the main role are faultless, in my humble opinion.

I found this film depressing and emotionally draining, but cannot wait to watch it again.
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Jaw-droppingly powerful and truly disturbing Russian war drama.
HumanoidOfFlesh6 July 2006
"Come and See" has to be one of the most powerful war movies ever made.It left me emotionally drained.The film tells the story of 12-year-old Florya(Alexi Kravchenko),whose desire is to join his countrymen in the battle against the fascists.His enthusiasm is written all over his face:in the opening scenes,which show Florya's recruitment by partisan soldiers,he wears the blissed-out smile of a hopeful child.After a bombardment,which leaves him temporarily deaf,he is left behind and stumbles across Glasha(Olga Mironova),who has also been abandoned.Together they return to his village, the atrocities witnessed there anticipating horrors to come."Come and See" is a deeply unsettling film.It's hallucinatory,hellish,traumatizing and uncompromising.There's an aura of profound sadness here,as Florya ages dramatically over the course of the story's events.The film's most disturbing sequence revolves around the raising of one village and the slaughter of most of its inhabitants.The acting is excellent,the cinematography is stunning and the use of Mozart on the soundtrack is particularly effective.10 out of 10.A must-see!
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I saw a film today , oh boy...
paulmartin17712 May 2006
I have a bad habit of reading too many reviews and comments about a film before I've seen it, mainly to get an idea about whether it's going to be worth a couple of hours of my time watching it. As a result, I am often slightly disappointed with much of what I see, as all the hype that I've read about a film kind of blows my expectations out of all proportion. I had a feeling this would be the case with Elem Klimov's 'Come and See', a film I'd read a lot about, particularly here on the IMDb. (Imagine my "excitement" when, having tried to see the film for nearly a year, I discovered it was to be released on DVD a week or two ago from today!) Well, I finally watched the film yesterday and... well, nothing could have prepared me for the sheer intensity and unflinching visceral horror of the atrocities that 'Come and See' invites us to... come and see. (Has anyone commented before on what a clever title that actually is...?) This is one of those films, like, say, 'Requiem For A Dream' or 'The Magdalene Sisters' (both of which, though great films, are simply not in the same league as Klimov's film), that one does not (obviously) so much enjoy as submit oneself to. By the end of such films we are left numbed and shell-shocked, wondering what we are supposed to do with the intense emotions that have been evoked within us. Yes, I felt like the ground had been pulled from beneath me; yes, what I saw in that film made my blood boil, my head hurt and my heart pound; and, yes, it showed me things I'd seen before but to a degree of intensity and detail that I had not experienced before. The point though, I guess, is that the role of cinema (and art in general) is not to offer answers or tell us what to think but to simply show us particular events and characters and allow us to come to our own decisions about what those things 'mean'. I'm rambling now, but I'll simply end by saying that 'Come and See' is, with its outstanding technical and artistic credentials aside, a film whose very title alone demands that it be seen. It is the work of a visionary, a cry of despair from the depths of hell, and an important reminder of humanity's capacity for inhumanity Go and see...
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Apocalypse Then
vbz5 January 2000
Warning: Spoilers
In all fairness, this Belorussian-made World War II picture detailing Nazi atrocities, holds a special distinction in world cinema: it is by far the most brutal and emotionally draining of all - in fact, a viewer whose senses have not been properly trained would most likely find it unwatchable. Those brave souls willing to be put through an ordeal of almost 2 1/2 hours will find themselves deeply immersed in an absolutely horrifying experience that will not easily subside whether they want it to or not.

The title, "Come and See", taken from the frequently repeating lines of the book of Revelation, clearly dares the audience to assume the role of St. John, witnessing the Apocalypse, or rather one of the darkest periods in the history of humankind. What we are assaulted with, plays somewhat like a demented version of "Modern Times" transpiring across the panel of Brueghel's "Trimuph of Death", if such a combination is possible. The camera is consistently filtered through a murky, slightly unfocused gaze, and the sound is often heard through shellshocked ears. This tends to eirly distance the events, yet make them even more frightening and unsettling. Much of the dialogue lacks specific meaning or even concrete sentences - it is replaced by subhuman growling, wailing and other spine-chilling, gluttural sounds of the war. What the director prepares is something Spielberg would never even dream of - no sign of compromise with the audience. A crowd of civilian villagers locked up in a barn by Nazi soldiers is not spared at the last minute like "Schindler List's" Jews- they are burned alive, and we get to watch all of it.

Unlike most of the films in this genre, "Come and see" relies mainly on images and sounds instead of a coherent plot, which is not necesserily a weakness, since the sheer terror distorts time and space into a kind of hallucinatory blur, clearly intentional and understandable. But this incredible level of bleak intensity in the long run, has a negative effect on the film: the viewers have to desensitize themselves just so they can keep watching, so the most harrowing scenes are sat through in numbness.

Another questionable move on the director's part is his occasional use of surrealism. While some visuals are painfully believable, while others are simply baffling: crazed villages consructing an effigy of Hitler, a pensive German commander with a pet slender loris (a rare African primate) on his shoulder, a female Nazi eating raw red lobster, not even mentioning a bizzare final montage wich is both inexplicable and obvious, ending with a real-life photograph that is perhaps the most terrifying of all in its implications.

Yes, at times the movie overachieves its goals and seems almost like the footage in "The Clockwork Orange" that they made Alex watch to cure him of "ultraviolent" behaviour; yet other times it delivers the kind of jolts those accustomed to mainstream cinema could only wish they had. The face of a youth who had lost all sanity and aged many decades over several days, will be etched for an indefinite amount of time into the memory of anyone who has seen this film.
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Death, destruction and despair
LSigno25 June 2001
There's not much one can say about this movie, besides "Be warned, it's going to hurt you - a lot". The story is simple: Byelorussia in 1943 and it's Hell on the Earth. The Nazis are fighting a no-quarter-given-or-asked war against huge Soviet partisan units, and the population is caught in between (historically the German security forces destroyed hundred of Byelorussian villages murdering most of the population in the effort to "clear" the rear of Third Panzer Army). Those who haven't been deported or killed by the Nazis are trying to join the partisans. One of them is Florya, a young boy - and in his quest to "join the fight" he get much more he had bargained for. It's a movie about an apocalyptic world (the title is taken from the Book of Revelation, a most of the movie looks like it has been filmed on another planet), but unfortunately it was all-real. The emotional centre of the movie is a lengthy sequence involving the destruction of a village, with all the sickening (but not exploitative) details shown with cold determination. There's no catharsis (this is not Schindler's List!), no hope, no redemption - even the eventual revenge against the village's destroyers become just a sad and murderous business. "Come And See" is a difficult, violent and surprisingly poetic movie, compared to which even classics like "Saving Private Ryan" (Spielberg payed a homage to this movie on SPR's beginning) or "The Thin Red Line" seems just artificial. This is the real thing!
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Possibly the definitive Russian front film
JAM-3111 December 2001
"Come and See" is bizarre, disturbing, and haunting. It is more moving and enlightening than all of the other (mostly disappointing) films I have seen depicting the Russian front in World War II. Strangely enough, the Red Army is entirely absent from the movie.

As a Russian film, it begins less conventionally than most films produced in the west. It starts off very surreal, and it is difficult at some points to understand what is going on or what certain characters are doing. This gives the theme a foreign and realistic feel. We follow the life of a peasant boy in Byleorussia in 1943, as he joins the partisans. Certain events involving his family and his introduction to the partisans (especially one involving a young girl) make his fight more personal. Strange interactions between characters and Director Elem Klimov's follow tracking shots dominate the film, and give it a unique method of storytelling. Then the nightmare begins.

The destruction of a Russian village is the horrific centerpiece of the story. It is brutally realistic, with more tracking shots that hold for long periods of time without cutting. We see the German Wehrmacht burn a barn loaded with civilians to the ground as these soldiers clap, smile, and embrace each other. The chaotic action involves many scenes that are sporadic (flames burning out of control, a German soldier accidently shoved into the barn house with the victims) and possibly improvised, which lend a great authenticity to the material. The images are unforgettable, and will stay with you long after you've seen the film. Klimov has succeeded in putting the viewer in the village. Surprisingly, despite coming out of the Soviet Union in 1985, "Come and See" never felt to me like propaganda. There was no communist rhetoric, and the heroes were all partisans, many of which were flawed. The Germans aren't caricatures at the same time they commit acts of evil, and view their actions in a banal way. When one of them defends the atrocities of his platoon, he states, "inferior races spread the microbes of communism." The character delivers this line not with fierce anger, but with nonchalance, as if it were common knowledge, not something that he needs to explain to anyone.

Some reviews have criticized the "afterthought," a rewind of the Nazi rise to power and invasion of Europe, as unnecessary. It may be, but it is still powerful. Other "flaws" people find with the movie are all characteristics of the director's style, therefore I don't find them flaws. "Come and See" is a great, very different, and very moving film. Grade: "A-"
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a brief comment on some comments
vlad_reven22 March 2008
What most of the foreign viewers perhaps don't understand is that the factual side of the movie has always been a common knowledge among millions of Russians especially those of older generations. People like me, who were born 10-15 years after the war ended, knew it all along first hand from the stories told by parents and grandparents actually living through those times and events. My own mother at the age of seven was thrown by German soldiers into a barn that got lit, her front teeth were knocked out by the butt of a German soldier's rifle and she, along with tenth of other village kids, was saved by my grand-mother and other villagers only because some partisans had chosen to attack and deliberate the village that day. What most of Western viewers find horrifying, shocking and disturbing is nothing but the truth being accurately depicted by some later movie makers. This movie is pretty much like a documentary that could actually be shot with the help of some sort of a "time machine" in case there was one in 1985 when the movie got filmed.
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And I heard one of the four living creatures saying, as with a voice of thunder...
MacAindrais25 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Come and See (1985)****

I first saw this movie a couple of years ago. I didn't really know what to think of it at first. The soundtrack on the DVD is a little messy and the acting was a bit strange. I knew it had affected me though in a way that not many other movies had. As time went by I began to realize just how much of an impact the movie had on me. It really, really stuck with me. One night, while writing a review of Errol Morris's latest documentary "Fog of War", I found myself thinking more and more about Come and See, and decided that I had to watch it again immediately. I ran out after midnight and rented it, and watched it 3 times or so over the next week. I started to see why the film had been haunting me and sticking around my thoughts. The reason was that this movie is simply a masterpiece.

Elem Klimov directs the film, starring Aleksei Kravchenko as Florya, a young boy who desires to fight with the Partisan's army against the invading Nazi army. He digs until he finds a rifle, then the next day he is off to a camp in the middle of the woods. The scene is chaotic it seems and unorganized. The fighters try to take a photo that takes about 5 minutes to accomplish because everyone keeps messing up their positions. Florya spots Glasha (Olga Mironova), a young girl, who has the younger fighters swooning over her, and who also seems to have some sort of relationship with the leader of the camp. What that relationship is exactly we never find out. Florya gets left behind on the attack because he is perhaps too young, and besides another older fighter needs some new boots, and swaps with the new kid. .

The anxious Florya is upset by this decision and he takes to the woods for some solitude, he cries and then discovers that near by Glasha is also crying at being left at the camp, more so for being left alone than behind. The two begin to bond and end up in an open field when German planes attack and begin to bomb the encampment. The scenes that follow next teeter on the brink of madness on film. Come and See is likely one of the most maddening films ever made for that matter. The key is the soundtrack. Florya is struck deaf for a few moments by the bombs. Sounds are muffled, but not like anything you've ever seen in a Hollywood film. The soundtrack is a mix of strange ringing and sounds and music, adding to the atmosphere of chaos that the two youngsters have now been thrown into. Much of the film has this style of soundtrack, which makes the Florya's descent into madness much more poignant.

The film movies forward from here back to Florya's village which has now been deserted. The two head to an island on the other side of a bog where Florya believes the town is hiding along with his mother and sisters. The scene where they climb through the mud is another example of Florya losing his mind. The soundtrack again becomes ambient and menacing in its strange blends of sounds. They eventually find some villagers and Florya now even more loses his sanity, along with some of his hair, which is given to recreate a statue of Hitler. This will be the last time we see Glasha in the movie, as Florya goes with a party to collect food for the starving people.

The most famous scene, and the one that will likely never leave you, is of a village being ransacked by Nazi soldiers. The scene is chaotic and culminates in a barn stuffed with the townspeople being burned and shot apart. Another one of the most famous shots from the movie is of Florya shooting a photo of Hitler, each bullet making time reverse. The photo goes back in time until it is a picture of Hitler as a baby on his mothers lap. He is an innocent infant, and Florya cannot bring himself to fire another shot. These shots are incredibly powerful and they stick in your mind.

Obviously, Come and See was filmed with influences of Soviet Propaganda in it, but it hardly matters because it is so well made and so maddening you can't help but be totally absorbed by the experience. The movie has a hypnotic quality about it, and without being horrifying because it's a jump out of your seat surprise bloodbath, it is horrifying in its representation of the cruelty people are capable of in war.

I can't remember ever seeing another film that expressed the descent into madness any better and being so involving as Come and See. By the end of the film, you feel like you've just experienced what it must be like to lose your mind. The film never goes into the desensitizing of violence in war. Instead it focuses on the violence which causes those who witness to become desensitized from the madness of its cruelty.

Elem Klimov created this film out of his actors and their emotions, and essentially used the viewer as another character. This movie draws you in and makes you experience exactly what the characters must. There are few other films that do that to you, especially to the extent that this one does it. And for that, Come and See is not only a masterpiece, it's really one of the best films you'll ever see. Find it, but don't just watch it. Allow it to take you in; even if that means you have to see it a couple times. Let it take you in, and you're in for an experience rarely found in cinema anymore
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Awesome , powerful and brutal.
robred6920 February 2001
Come and See , well if you hate violence and brutality then you certainly wont want to see this. This Picture set in 1943 occupied Byelorussia is most probably the most true to life war movie ever, only Saving Private Ryan and Schindlers List can come close. What is amazing in this picture , is how the director uses a child's perspective and view in circumstances that you can only describe as evil. The director pulls no punches in how bad times actually were for peasents and partisans alike as German and collaborators show the viewer how low and depraved a fascist military machine actually is.

I dont want to go into the plot , as this film is a MUST for anyone who considers themselves a film buff. Disturbing and terrifying scenes do not in anyway spoil the flow of the film , but when viewing this film , please desist from seeing this movie in the early evening , as you wont sleep.

The acting accolades of course goes to the main characters , but I wish to give a special mention for the Russian Partisan Commander , who was just simply , superb. Everything about him was what you'd expect a Red Army Officer to be. The looks , the attitude and the steely determination is simply a credit to the actor. The best scene involving the Red Army Commander was when they had captured an Einsatgruppen Unit , and the SS soldier , who knew they were facing death was allowed to speak , after there own Commanding Officer was pleading pitifully for his own life. The SS soldier tells his captors that they are sub-human and that there peasent belief in Marxism was grounds enough that they should be eradicated. The Red Army Commander then in just a few words tells his men , that they are not just fighting for Socialism , but also the right to exist.What happens after...well you'll have to see.

Come and See is nothing short of disturbing, awesome, powerful and brutal. This is the best film I have ever seen regarding films portraying the Eastern Front 1941-1945 war. This film should be engraved in gold as the standard for any budding war film director. Only Saving Private Ryan and Schindlers List can be put in the same League table.
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Come And See If You Dare:
G_a_l_i_n_a23 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Historical note:

"The film concerns the Nazi policy of "total annihilation" in the republic of Byelorussia (now known as Belarus or White Russia, adjacent to Poland) in 1943. The racial policy of the Nazis was to eliminate all "inferior races" such as Jews and Slavs from Eastern Europe and to make land available for German settlement in the east (Lebensraum). Because of the importance of Eastern Europe to Nazi policy the bulk of the German Army was sent to the eastern rather than the western front. Estimated that 20 million or more Russians (by Russians I mean the people of many nationalities that included Russians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Jews and many others who used to live on the Soviet territories occupied by Germans during 1941-1943) died fighting Hitler (recent estimates place figure 25-30 million). Units of the SS (Schutzstaffel) and SD (Sicherheitsdienst) were used to carry out the genocide. The SD was separated from the main body of the German Army (Wehrmacht) and made up of fanatical Nazis and fascist East European (often from the Baltic) collaborators."

Elem Klimov's and Ales Adamovich's Film is perhaps one of the most powerful and horrifying films about the war (I would add Tarkovsky's "The Childhood of Ivan" aka "Ivanovo Detstvo" and Mikhail Romm's documentary "Obyknovenny Fascism" aka "Ordinary Fascism" aka "Triumph Over Violence").

Not for a moment would the film let the viewer relax. With each scene, the feeling of horror increases. We are transformed into the main character, 16 year old boy Florya. We are forced to see with his eyes, to hear with his ears. In the beginning of the film, Florya is a child. At the end, after having witnessed the unspeakable terrors of the fascists, he becomes an adult, and not just an adult – an old man. His face is the face of War – and it is to us, the viewers, authors say – come and look in this face if you dare.

War unmistakably selects as its victims the weakest, the youngest and the tenderest - the authors could not go against this truth. In the military camp, Florya meets the young girl, Glasha. Together, they try to make their way to the village where his family lived. But no one is there, it is empty - it is burnt out.

And again some force pushes Florya, Glasha and us to go further. But where? To the shed where the women and the children are burning alive? Into the hands of the rapists- fascists? Or to be photographed with the revolver put at your temple, surrounded by the laughing SS-men? Is there any way out of the Inferno of War?

The mystery of the final episode… Florya can not force himself to shoot the child at the photograph sitting at his mother's lap. Even if the child's name is Adolph Hitler. Florya puts his rifle down. The clear blue sky is above him. Sounds Mozart's "Requiem". What is this? Victory? Or defeat? Did Florya survive or did he perish like millions and millions during the endless days, months, and years of the worst war the humankind had known? Even if survived physically, he is a changed forever man, the man who looked triumphant death and horror in the eye for too long to ever forget them.
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One of the finest films of all time.
notoriousCASK25 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
World War II in Belarus, in the region near the Polish borders. Compelled by patriotism and youthful idealism one young boy (Aleksei Kravchenko) leaves his village to fight with the Soviet partisan resistance against the Nazi invasion. Within minutes his innocence is stripped away and the premature knowledge of war is revealed to him. He gets away from his unit and returns home, only to find the whole village including his family slaughtered and their bodies stacked behind an old farm!

The horrendous depiction of war that Klimov creates is unique in the history of cinema. There is no plot, only a terrifying wandering in the nature, as the boy comes face to face with constant terrorizing and horrendous scenarios. Heroisms and sacrifices do not exist, nor inspiring speeches that excite the people to resist and fight the enemy. There is only the unexpected, death, violence and victims! A poem of a nightmare, relentlessly grim, deeply disturbing, and made unquestionably more dread-inducing by the fact that almost everything depicted really happened, it is a depressing but necessary reminder of one of the darkest chapters in human history. Idi i Smotri also manages to be both poetic and realistic and that is a supreme accomplishment on the part of the director.

The film depicts real and surreal images that only war can justify. Transporting us back to World War II setting with its aptly-chosen locations and era-appropriate set pieces Alexei Rodionov's documentarian cinematography incorporates a lot of steady-cam and captures the events without any interruptions by employing long takes, and stands as one of the best films to use it as extensively as this one does, while desaturated colour tones add an urgency and bleak feel to its aura. The imagery at times is darkly psychedelic and truly arouses a sense of fear within the viewer because Fliora's surroundings are often made to seem out of this world. Such an image is the one where a soldier of the resistance, using mud, pieces of wood and a Nazi uniform, creates a German soldier totem. The widows and the mothers attack the totem and destroy it in a primitive act of violence and catharsis. There are moments in which the film is depicted through the eyes of the protagonist, and all sounds collapse into oblivion, reinforcing his deafness after the bombs' explosions.

Come and See is one of the most affecting and confrontational war films ever made. The majority of war films claiming to be anti-war, show heroic acts with weapons and very capable soldiers that can save the day. Come and see does not offer such relief and comfort. It shows that in the war there are only victims. Though no one could possibly describe the experience of watching Come and See as a fun time, the film is nonetheless a masterpiece, worthy of consideration as not just the best war movie ever made, but also one of the greatest films ever made. Come and See is an enduring landmark of Soviet cinema whose potency and relevance will never be diminished by the test of time.
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unremitting graphical terror and accumulating atrocities
rogierr17 January 2002
Elem Klimov and Aleksei Rodionov's handheld cinematography, present the viewer with the mental and physical destruction of a boy who changes in front of your eyes beyond recognition.

Cacophoneous, industrial sounds and sometimes cryptic story-elements (for as far as there is a story) contribute to this ruthlessly escalating history lesson about Nazi's who burned down hundreds of villages in 1943 in Russia. The realism makes you wonder how many people were harmed making the film, while the score represents the mindnumbing experiences of Florya, a tour-de-force performance by Aleksei Kravchenko (16 at the time). All along, somehow Klimov knows very well how to prevent the audience from becoming numb.

ILM's specialFX are smoother, but the FX here in 'Come and see' are so realistic, it's almost unreal: reminiscent of the first 30 min of Saving private Ryan, Thin red line (watch the animals), Apocalypse Now and the painstaking 'Band of brothers'. Indeed forget about the rest of 'SPR', Platoon and even Full Metal Jacket. However, I would like to recommend Deer Hunter (Cimino, 1978) and Hotaru no haka (1988). But I never suspected there was something massive like this. 10/10
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Very powerful
matjusm27 January 2007
This is just about as powerful as a war film can get.

The year is 1943. A teenage Belorussian boy by the name of Florya finds a rifle and then joins the resistance to fight the Germans. On the way he sees all the horrors of war and thats what this film is really about.

This is one of the most powerful war films I've seen and I have seen a lot. The events aren't dramatized too much and the film manages to keep a good sense of realism. At the same time however it achieves an excellent surrealistic atmosphere by contrasting this young boy to the horrors of war that surround him. The soundtrack helps a lot in this area by not really providing music in the traditional sense but rather these very tense and powerful, slightly ambient noises. Reminded me a lot of the sound that an orchestra makes when they're getting ready right before the start of a concert. Now the film was made during Soviet times so it does show the Germans in a bad light and as very cruel but to a large extent, thats how things were. Aleksei Kravchenko, the actor portraying Florya, pulls the job off well despite his young age. He doesn't have much dialog to say and this really is more of a visual film.

To add to the artistic qualities of this film, there is also an excellent technical side. In addition to the soundtrack which I mentioned before, this film has some of the best cinematography I've seen in a long time. Director Elem Klimov makes excellent use of the steadycam with which he follows his characters as they go from one place to another and without cutting away. There are two excellent examples of this: First is when Florya comes back to his village and the camera follows him as he comes down a hill, goes into his yard and then into his house. The second is the last shot in the film which follows a collumn of soldiers, then takes a brief detour (which is more of a shortcut actually) into a forest and then rejoins that group of soldiers some time later. Simply awesome. The battle scenes are very intense, especially one of a group of German soldiers taking out a village. What I really liked was that everything seemed genuine. During one scene where a bomber bombed a forest, you could really see the dirt being kicked up and trees falling down.

An absolute must see film.
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Quite possibly the most powerful film I have ever seen.
maurernh129 April 2006
Come and See is one of the rare films that I can remember being emotionally drained upon its conclusion. The expression on my face as I sat there watching the credits scroll by seemed as worn and broken as that of the protagonist, Florya.

The film follows Florya as he "joins" (i.e. obtains a gun) a partisan group resisting the German advancements in the forests of his native Byelorussia during World War II. What he witnesses at the ripe age of 12 changes a once open-eyed, smiling face into a weathered, traumatized one that has experienced the unimaginable.

And of course the unimaginable were the Nazi atrocities committed during the war. Come and See does not focus on what the German Army did to the Jewish population but rather what they did to the native Soviet population. The Nazis were not only concerned with the utter destruction of the Jews but of the Bolshevik Party as well. And to Hitler that meant any man, woman, or child living under communist rule. And this "cleansing" fell into the hands of the SS who, as depicted in the movie, literally destroyed every sign of life.

Florya is able to escape death, unlike the rest of his family, but serves as a witness to the destruction and in this sense "dies" as his innocence and youth is lost. Klimov does a masterful job and depicting this slow death by concentrating on the facial expressions of Florya versus that of the Germans and both of their transformations over time. Klimov's Hitler montage at the end is especially moving and puts an interesting spin on the whole "what if" question.

This is the most historically accurate war movie I have ever seen and would highly recommend it to any war/history enthusiast. But I would also recommend it to any film watcher that realizes the goal of the medium which is to evoke emotion in the audience, and Come and See does just that.
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Once Seen Never Ever Forgotten
Theo Robertson28 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Elem Klimov's COME AND SEE is a film best remembered for one scene and it'd probably be wrong to say it should be remembered for more that since THAT scene is one of the most disturbing and harrowing ever committed to celluloid . It also means the rest of the movie struggles hard to make up for it even though it tries . In many ways it's a throwback to the Soviet Home Front type of war movie mixed with Tarkovsky . Nature in all its imagery features prominently throughout the film . Forests are beautiful , green and silent on the surface but feature filthy , stinking swamps where a human can drown in . Man is also a hostage to the elements where rain soaks the skin and causes a human being to shiver . Man is not as fortunate as a bird who evolution has blessed with feathers and can sit on a swamp without sinking

Like Andrie's Tarkovsky' 1962 film IVAN'S CHILDHOOD the story revolves around an older child - Florya - who finds himself caught up in the insanity of war in Byelorussia . While nature is cruel there's nothing more cruel than human tribalism coupled with unthinking ideology , a lesson Florya and the audience will find out later in the film . Until then the film concentrates on Florya's almost naive sense of adventure . The partisans leave him behind as they go to fight the Nazis so Florya wanders through the deep forests with his companion , an older girl called Glasha , perhaps blissfully unaware what the future holds for them both

The film climaxes with an atrocity brought upon a village occupied by a Nazi death squad Einsatzkommando unit . People often use SCHINDLER'S LIST as the one film to show the brutality of the Nazi regime but to be honest the impact of Nazi atrocities may have a stronger impact here . There's a clinical ,impersonal feel to humans being murdered by zyklon B in gas chambers but to watch people being burned alive while the perpetrators laugh and treat the massacre as a nice day out does chill the blood . Worse still it's all based on truth . COME AND SEE finishes with a caption that 626 Byelorussian villages and their inhabitants were burnt to the ground . This was only in Bylorussia . This isn't counting the towns in Russia , Ukraine and other places in the USSR that was visited by Nazi murder squads . Disgracefully Mel Gibson recreated this very scene in THE PATRIOT where the British red coats committed an identical act even though there's no record of anything similar having happened during the American war of independence

In conclusion COME AND SEE is a film that deserves to be seen by everyone even though it's sometimes distressing . It's this nihilistic and horrifying , brutal impact war has upon people in general and the young in particular that makes it a must see movie . It's also the last film director ElemKlimov ever made which is possibly just as well since it's the one one film a director should be remembered for . Such great talent going to Hollywood making romantic comedies and action blockbusters would have been such a waste
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Come and See why this Movie Breaks the War Movie Rules
terrywunder16 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Come and See

Growing up watching war movies from Apocalypse Now to Black Hawk Down, I thought I knew what war movies are. Apparently, I was wrong. Come and See is not like those films. It does have soldiers, explosions, and people dying. However, Come and See doesn't have John Williams making you feel like storming the beaches of Normandy is somehow best expressed by French horn. What makes Come and See so interesting are 3 basic elements: 1. We experience war through the eyes of a teenager, 2. It doesn't follow a formulaic approach and 3. It's brutally real.

First of all, war movies are typically seen (in America) through the eyes of some brave (almost always white) man heading off to the glory of the war. Ben Affleck in Pearl Harbor, Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan, Tom Sizemore in every major American war movie or TV Show since 1989 (including the two aforementioned). In Come and See, our protagonist Florya is a teenager who eagerly jumps at the chance to fight with the Russians against the Nazi invasion. His youth and innocence at the beginning is just like the audiences. He believes he knows what war looks like, but when confronted with the reality of it he, along with the audiences, slowly loses his mind and his prefabricated ideals. He (and we) become lost in this seemingly alien world of war that had previously been a clear vision to us. Our joint progression is a testament to Klimov's smart design.

What I cannot stand about American war movies is the obviousness of plot. That doesn't mean all American war films are bad, but I do believe they follow a very specific pattern. Here it is: Someone goes off to war; they battle, lose a friend, gain some friends, recover from loss, learn some important lesson, and come home. Saving Private Ryan's title character (Matt Damon), Pearl Harbor's Danny Walker (Josh Hartnett), Jarhead's Anthony Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) all follow this line. In Come and See, Florya does go off to war with some ideals, he makes and loses some friends, but he never comes home. Also, he's not doing it in any cookie-cutter/Michael Bay way. He is literally destroyed of all his innocence, family, self- worth, and judgment. He never recovers from his losses, he simply pushes them deeper within or ignores them (which could be argued is the same thing), he never learns lessons from his experiences (he becomes angry and disavowed with own thoughts and ethics), and he never comes home, because he doesn't have a home anymore and he wants to keep fighting (I also understand that "war" and "The Army" could be his home, but I disagree with that. I feel his home is truly destroyed, when his innocence is destroyed).

Lastly, Come and See's realistic approach to filming is remarkable and startling. There are no sweeping shots of the horizon and the soldiers walking through vast fields, epic crane moves around the statuesque protags (a la every Michael Bay-type war film), or funky color separation or manipulation. It is really is 2 hours of hand-held camera, live ammunition and explosions, real color, and original WWII uniforms. Come and See is an intelligent exploitation of your senses and emotions that are clearly visible in the young actors own minds. When Florya stands next to the nearly leaded cow you see his real fear just like the guy watching the film next to you. Some documentaries are a cleaner look at war than Klimov's film.
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Makes Schindler's List look like Sesame Street
tieman6411 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Elem Klimov directs "Come and See". While the film predominantly follows the rites-of-passage journey of a young boy, it is remarkable how often and effortlessly Klimov shifts visual perspective, offering us the objective and subjective states of a wide range of characters and objects.

For example, in one of the films most surreal scenes, several characters are shown guiding a cow across what seems to be open and unguarded terrain. Suddenly a series of intense firefights break out. Several characters are killed, but it is the fate of the cow with which the film is most preoccupied.

The images of the cow standing untouched by the raging skirmish, then struck by a barrage of bullets, and finally of its eyes rapidly shifting and dilating before death, are indicative of "Come and See's" ability to produce indelible images from what are often quite standard war film situations. Like Malick, Klimov is as much interested in the landscape (and the objects and people that inhabit it), as he is in representing the minutiae and widening horror of his protagonist's journey from home to the multiple sites of slaughter and genocide that mar his countryside.

The journey of a wide-eyed innocent across apocalyptic terrain is common territory for the war film (Ichikawa's "The Burmese Harp", Tarkovsky's "Ivan's Childhood", "The Human Condition" etc), but Klimov is going for a much more macabre tone, bludgeoning us with the sheer intensity and sick morbidity of his images.

Unlike, say, "Schindler's List", "Come and See" is also remarkable for its use of abstract colour and sound. This is not a realist film; its shocks and effects are more dreamlike, from the mutedness of its burnished cinematography, to the extraordinary close-ups of several of its characters' impossibly aged faces, to the hyper expressive performances of many of its actors, to the impressionistic and at times almost expressionistic use of sound.

In this context, the title of the film is not just a call for audiences to bear witness, to "see" that which is not imaginable, that which has little visual record, and to get a sense of the physical conditions (the "come" of the title) experienced by those during the war, but a description or pointer towards the more spectatorial expectations of the film. Of course the order "come and see" also functions as an exploitative challenge; "Come and see if you dare!" Indeed, many Chinese war-porn/propaganda films feature eerily similar titles.

The film is essentially an epic journey and many of its images possess an almost Dantesque quality. It can also be seen as a "coming of age" film, a remarkable "coming" or progression (or is it regression?) that is etched upon the utterly transformed face of its central character.

Unsurprisingly, Spielberg screened "Come and See" several times for cast and crew prior to shooting his Holocaust film. "See" would prove a huge influence on Spielberg's "Empire of the Sun", "Schindler's List", "Wr Horse" and "Private Ryan", in its mixture of child-like innocence (lots of dollying in to the shocked children's faces) and brutality. This is the worst aspect of Klimov's legacy, his film opening the doorway for an onslaught of other shock-porn movies - all the way to Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" - all of which pretend to be history lessons and important "humane" testimonies, when in reality they simply use progressions in technology to escalate violence levels, push tolerance levels and are built around a primary need to jolt apathetic, desensitised audiences. Hilariously, as war-porn gets more hard-core, in real life the numbers of genocides, wars and atrocities demonstrably increase, whilst media coverage decreases and public apathy increases. This is the mistake of all "war films": people don't repeat because they forget (the implication being that we must therefore shock ourselves into awareness), we forget because we repeat (see "The Shining"). The human animal needs denial more than food.

So while "Come and See" and its Spielberg imitators lack any real historical depth, complexity, nuance, understanding of human beings, and trade in simple exploitation, they also possess a kind of psychological naivety, perhaps best exemplified by Klimov's final scene, in which a kid essentially refuses to shoot a young Hitler. WW2's engine had little to do with Hitler, but here he's reduced to the genesis of evil, the seed from which WW2 blossoms.

Though commissioned by the Soviet Union as a propaganda piece, "Come and See" was made shortly prior to the fall of the Iron Curtain, a period in which artists had a certain amount of freedom. Klimov's films is thus at times self consciously a meditation on Stalinist war films. In this regard the film literally begins upon the beach where Tarkovsky's "Ivan" ends, from where it attempts to create a new "war narrative", shunting aside Stalinist glorification for a kind of psychological shell shock. The result, though, is basically a Soviet version of "Men Behind the Sun", the infamous Chinese propaganda film in which we're called to bear witness to the activities of sadistic Japanese soldiers. In Klimov's case - the film focuses on the Nazi atrocities in Byelorussia - we leer at sadistic, vile, rapacious, murderous and cowardly Nazis while Communist partisans are portrayed as playful, comradely and righteous people. If a countries leadership willingly sided with the Germans from 1939-41, invaded countries (Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Finland etc) carried out numerous atrocities against other nations and their own people and supported the Gulag system, then the viewer needs to be extremely careful when they view material that has been officially sanctioned by that leadership.

8/10 - Worth one viewing.
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Harrowingly realistic; the true horrors of war
ackstasis4 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Russian director Elem Klimov's final film, 'Idi i smotri {Come and See},' is a masterpiece of the genre, a war film so disturbingly intense that it strays into the realms of psychological horror. Set in 1943, during the Nazi occupation of Belarus, the film follows the fate of a young boy, Florya Gaishun (Aleksei Kravchenko), who joins the Soviet partisan army. As the horrors of war unfold before him, Florya loses his idealistic preconceptions of combat, becoming confused and psychologically unstable. The entire film is witnessed through his young eyes, as his civilised world is thrown into turmoil and those that he loves perish at the hands of a merciless enemy.

Much like Francis Ford Coppola's 'Apocalypse Now,' the film is almost surrealistic in its exploration of the horrors of war, constructing a hallucinatory nightmare of escalating confusion, fear, death and madness. And yet, despite this, the film manages to come across as being frighteningly realistic. Perhaps this surrealistic approach is also, paradoxically, the most realistic depiction of war. Young Florya is cast into a hellish world he simply can't comprehend; placed in the same position, I imagine, the experience would strike us as being one long, distressing and horrible dream. Florya seemingly even treats it all as such. With the ghastly events happening all about him, he can do nothing but stare with petrified shock and awe, as one who expects to wake up at any moment.

'Come and See' boasts a string of remarkable sequences which will resonate with viewers for a long time after they see it. A series of bomb strikes tear apart a Russian forest, silently obliterating the mature trees as a shell-shocked Florya hears only the maddening ringing in his ears; Florya attempts to clamber through a thick, murky bog, feeling with each step as though he is getting nowhere; he awakens in the midst of a thick mist, his head resting on the carcass of a dead cow. Perhaps the most lasting scene is one in which an entire population of villagers is herded into a barn, and then consequently set alight. Words fail to describe the horror of watching the flaming barn doors still flapping wildly as the inhabitants fight with their last breaths to save themselves and their families. Meanwhile, Florya just stares, his blank, disbelieving expression infinitely more effective than any other actions would have been.

Inexperienced teenager Aleksei Kravchenko is excellent in the lead role, which the director subsequently described as "a very difficult role with extreme emotional states." So arduous were the emotional burdens of the film that Klimov later expressed surprise and relief that young Kravchenko did not suffer any adverse psychological trauma during and after filming, which notably employed the use of live ammunition to maximise authenticity. His character is placed in situations that are, to us, simply impossible to fathom, and Florya reacts to these changes in his life with a sort of awed silence, sometimes anger. Young actress Olga Mironova, apparently in her only film role, plays a pivotal role as Glasha, whom Florya befriends in the early part of the film.

The film ends with a simple but very disturbing montage of archive footage. As Florya attempts to symbolically destroy Adolf Hitler by firing bullets at his portrait, the black-and-white World War II footage rapidly rewinds: we see corpses at a concentration camp, a 1930s Nazi party rally, Hitler's services during World War I. As Florya fires more and more bullets, the images continue to reverse themselves, as though eradicating the history from existence. Finally, we arrive at a photograph of Adolf Hitler sitting on his mother's lap as a young baby. Unlike the Nazi savages who felt no remorse in torching entire villages to the ground, Florya cannot bring himself to symbolically murder this innocent child, even with the knowledge of the horrors he would later orchestrate. Is this morality the reason why wars are an inevitable consequence of human existence?

Though the final reel does undoubtedly stray towards propaganda (the Russian citizens are clearly shown to possess superior morals to those of the evil, fiendish Germans), the entire film is executed so disturbingly perfectly that you are too engrossed in the spectacle to really notice at all. There is no clear resolution to the story. Of course, the valiant Soviets successfully triumph over the company of Nazis, but they then strike off for another confrontation. The War will go on forever, and Florya will never be given a reprieve from all the horrors he has witnessed. The original working title of the film had been "Kill Hitler," not specifically referring to the infamous dictator, but with a more general meaning. As Klimov explains in the DVD preface to his film, he meant the title to suggest that we should kill the "Hitler" within ourselves, "because we all have our demons in this or that measure." However, after the title was deemed inappropriate, another was chosen from chapter 6 the Book of Revelations: "...and I heard one of the four living creatures saying, as with a voice of thunder, "Come and see!""

'Come and See' was the final film that Klimov ever directed. Having experienced World War II with his own eyes as a child, he felt that it was a film that he needed to make, and, after doing so, he was no longer compelled to continue directing. The director comments, once again on the DVD preface: "I don't regret that I made that film. It had a difficult pre-history and history. But one has to make it a difference once in a while, to commit something worthy. Herein lies the sense of creative work, when you can offer to people something real serious, real meaningful…" Simply put, this is the masterpiece that he was born to make, and a single viewing will ultimately change the way that you view war.
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One of the greatest war films ever made
dbborroughs19 January 2008
I needed to have two hours and twenty odd minutes to watch this with out interruption. I didn't want to break it for any real reason or for any real length of time other than to change the disc (more on that later).

I had the time so I watched the movie.

I could argue that with two small flaws this is one of the greatest anti-war films ever made.

This is the SUBJECTIVE story of a boy who joins the partisans during the German invasion of Russian and his decent into hell.

This is a tough movie. its in your face and everyone else's, literally as we see everyone and everything that our hero does even to the point that if he's talking to someone the camera will hold on them as they speak with no cut aways. We learn everything about people by their faces since we have the time to study them. This is simply one of the few times where even if the film had had a different aspect ratio other than 1.33 (tv shape) I would rally to have it full screen rather than letterbox simply because for this movie you MUST lose yourself in what you see and hear. Having someone facing you, looking at you is more powerful when all you can see is their face. Faces are a landscape in this film.

This is especially true of Floyra, our hero who's stunned expression at all that happens around him is a constant source of wonderment.As we as shocked and rattled by what we see we know that he is even more rattled because he is there and he is expressing it on his face. Its said he was hypnotized to be able to get the right expressions, and seeing the pain on his face I believe it since you could only express what he is by living through it... Wide eyed numbness his mouth sometimes agape we watch as he tries to just get on...

The film as I said is subjective and we see and hear, literally, what Floyra does. When his hearing is thrown askew by shelling what we hear becomes less distinct. Sound will drift in and out and we get a sense of being there. The camera also holds on some scenes at times Not cutting away for better angles simply because Floyra doesn't have them.

This film will rock your world and then some.

I want to tell you everything about the film but at the same time fear that doing so will set up expectations as to what happens. Reading the material on the film and seeing the trailer set up some expectations in my mind, some of which was right and some was wrong. I would like to have you see the film knowing as little about what actually happens as possible so you experience the film straight. I lost my expectations the minute the film began and I was wondering what was going on... I was hooked as the long strange trip took over. I'm certain that once the film stats you will be free of expectations too but, at the same time I think if I told you too much it would ruin the what happens next.

This is GREAT film making.

That said there are two small flaws.

First, as some reviews have said the Germans, when they finally show up on screen are just a tad cartoony. menacing but slightly cartoonish...I could be wrong... but regardless through it all Floyra's pained expression cuts the cartoon away and reminds us this is bad stuff going down.

The second flaw is a montage of actual footage used near the very end. I know why it was done, or can guess, but its too long. It breaks the spell in some ways... I think it would have been more apt had the film had the original desired title of "Kill Hitler".

The last point I want to make is the fact the film is on two DVDs. Released two years ago there is no logical reason for the film to be broken into two parts, the tape is a single cassette release, except that like many films from the Russian Film Council its loaded with subtitles, 13 languages and three audio options. There is also other extras like an introduction by the film maker that runs 20 minutes, documentary footage and an interview with the lead actor. But I digress....

I'm certain that the film doesn't really need to be in two parts for any reason other than a technical one... except that in a strange way the break sort of works for the film if you watch it straight through taking only a break to switch discs. Call me crazy but the break is perfectly placed at the mid point to the story. Not only that the film changes from first half to second half. The tone , even though continuous in action, is different as the second disc begins. Its almost as if we are back at the beginning of the film at a peak that slowly slides downward. Time wise the two halves are different with the action taking place over a couple of jumbled days while the second is one continuous series of events over two days.

In the end all that matters is the film.

And here the film is absolutely great.

See it and be moved.

----------------------------------- random thoughts In its way its comparable to grave of fireflies The film that many people compare it to, Destiny of a Man, is a relation but not direct ancestor of it simply because the films are very different, Destiny taking place over years in Flashback, Come and See is happening here and now over weeks. They share themes and elements but the thrust and points are different, especially in the end...
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The Lost of Innocence in the Cruelties of War
claudio_carvalho23 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
In 1943, in Byelorussia, the naive teenager Florya Gaishun (A. Kravchenko) seeks a weapon to be accepted by the Resistance. He joins the revolutionary army but the rookie partisan is left behind with the girl Glasha (O. Mironova). They return to Florya's village, but they discover that his mother, the twin sisters and friends had been killed by the German army. They cross a swamp and find survivors in starvation; Florya and three other comrades go to Perekhodi to bring food for the survivors. However they are attacked by the German soldiers and only the boy survives. He meets a farmer that brings him home but the ruthless and savage German forces has already reached the village where Florya loses the rest of his innocence with the cruelties of the invaders.

Idi I Smotri" is an impressively realistic drama of war depicting the lost of innocence of a young teenager with the cruelties of war. The endurance of the lead character is amazing, experiencing and surviving to the most brutal situations. The direction and the performances are superb, giving the sensation of a documentary to the viewer. There are many impressively crude and disturbing sequences that are not recommended for sensitive viewers, or people that has lived the horrors of a war. If you like realistic non-Hollywoodian movies, go and see this gem. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Vá e Veja" ("Go and See")
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Absolutely haunting, possibly traumatizing
gutierrez_garrett_an9 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
If any movie can induce PTSD or reduce one's expected lifespan simply by viewing it, this is that film. I am not usually in favor of restricting movie viewership, but this is one film that I cannot rightfully recommend to any person under the age of 18. If I had watched this film when I was 12, I would have either created some sort of psychological barrier and have been unable to fully comprehend the events taking place, or I would have been emotionally damaged for life. Possibly both. After viewing "Come and See", I am a changed man. Though it contains no graphic sex, outright gore, or extensive vulgarity, "Come and See" is so powerful it's haunted me long after it ended. I've seen many horror movies (and even more war movies throughout my life, but no film I've ever seen even holds a candle to "Come and See" in terms of psychological trauma. I've heard stories about the horrors of the holocaust and of WWII, my grandfather was even in a concentration camp in Poland during the war- at the tender age of 14, about the same age as the main character in the film. I've read "Night" by Elie Wiesel, and I have seen "Schindler's List," and though I felt great sorrow for the pain of those who lived through such terrible ordeals, at the end of the day all of the stories I'd heard resonated with me as just that; stories (very real stories, but stories nonetheless). This was not the case with "Come and See." Klimov's brilliant directing style is somehow capable of pulling you in and making you feel absolutely helpless against the surrounding evils. Not just sorrow and remorse for the characters, but complete empathy for their pain in a way that is indescribable. "Schindler's List" might be hard to get through at times, but you still remain fully cognizant of the screen separating you from the death and suffering you see. "Come and See" destroys that protective mechanism. As an audience member, you have no feelings of "seeing" the film through a lens, but you "experience" it like you might experience the effects of a hallucinogenic substance that latches onto your brain and changes the very chemicals that determine the way you view the world- in a way I would imagine that is similar to an LSD trip gone horribly wrong. I now have even greater compassion for my grandfather's ordeals, and cannot imagine what I would have done were I in the same position as he. The film raises serious questions about whether or not it is truly "better" to survive a massacre than die in it. Even if you walk out of this film, it's too late. Closing your eyes, covering your ears; all attempts at ignorance are pointless -because "Come and See" goes past your vision and hearing- it penetrates your very consciousness. If you've seen enough to want to turn off the film, it's already too late and you've already felt the film's power. By the end of it, there is no way you'll ever look at war the same way again, and you'll likely remember this film and its lessons for years to come. Every single person considering joining the military, and every single person capable of voting should watch this film, because I guarantee it will cause you to deeply reconsider the choices that could easily send thousands of men into similar situations you see unfolding in "Come and See." Though I am always in favor of watching all great movies at least twice, and though "Come and See" is nothing less than great (if not spectacular), it is one film I dread watching a second time. Be sure to have a pack of cigarettes, black coffee, and/or a stiff drink ready in hand before viewing this film.
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One Of THE Most Powerful Films I've Ever Seen...
EVOL66616 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
First off - I will readily admit my "ignorance" to the actual historical facts of the state-of-affairs in Europe and Russia during the time-frame in which COME AND SEE is set. I do know "some" of what was going on during WWII (as I'm not a completely illiterate moron...) but I won't even begin to try to come off as erudite as some reviewers who obviously know FAR more about world-history than I do. Instead - I will approach this review strictly from the viewpoint of a film-fan. That said - COME AND SEE is definitely one of the most harrowing films that I've ever come across. Being mainly an "underground" horror fan - I've made it my life's work to seek out the most sickening, disturbing, twisted, nihilistic films that could possibly be laid to film - and honestly - the few films that have actually "touched a nerve" with me, typically are not by definition "horror" films at all - but then again - if these types of films can't be considered in the realm of "horror" - then what truly can???

COME AND SEE revolves around Flor - a young boy living in Beylorussia during WWII. We learn early on that Flor is eager to "fight the good fight" of his countrymen against the pending onslaught of German invading soldiers, but unfortunately for Flor - he is unexpectedly thrust into situations that he could not have possibly been ready for - as I'm sure is the case in reality for anyone who experiences war first-hand. To avoid spoiling any of the truly memorable scenes - I will just say that the rest of the film is spent following Flor as he single-handedly escapes his own death numerous times until the conclusion, where he meets back up with his comrades...

I don't even know where to begin with all the good points about COME AND SEE. The acting is INCREDIBLE by everyone involved - more-so than I would have ever thought possible from such young actors (particularly) portraying such complicated and devastating roles and situations. The cinematography is incredibly bleak and perfectly captures the hopeless and helpless environs of war-torn Russia (at least I guess they do - as I wasn't there...) - there is not one second in the film where you question the authenticity of the surroundings. There is really no "gore" to speak of - but the more "horrifying" scenes are captured so perfectly, that no amount of "blood-n-guts" could have really made the film better (and this coming from a certifiable gore/sleaze-head). If I had to pick ANY negative issues with the film - I would say that there are scenes in the beginning that are SO haunting, that towards the middle the film loses a bit of momentum, causing even some of the stronger end-scenes to not have as much "power". I also feel that the very last sequence (shooting the Hitler picture mixed with actual Holocaust footage) was a bit of propaganda-overkill that was unnecessary as I felt that I had already CLEARLY gotten the message. Those two aspects alone drop COME AND SEE a half point in my book. But regardless - this is an ABSOLUTELY incredible film that I can't recommend enough - just understand that you will most likely come away from it emotionally drained - which to me is one of the highest achievements that cinema can provide...9.5/10
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"The soundtrack is boring"
AndreiPavlov5 June 2013
To write a simple review seems to be an easy task. Let's complicate the matters a bit. If You have time and inclination, perceive my point and method of commenting this particular movie. All right, here we go. What do we have on the negative side? The following lines are taken out from the IMDb reviews.

1 "The soundtrack is boring, without any decent music at all... Indeed, this is not a realistic film in any way, shape or form... Its propaganda, devoid of any artistic merit. I give it the minimum score because of its extreme pro-Soviet bias, which makes the film offensive and indeed Soviet propaganda". (by Jose Cruz)

2 "And I love films, but really films are supposed to be entertaining. Or shocking. Or thought provoking. This is so tedious it feels like the director is calling the viewers bluff". (by robc-26 from United Kingdom)

3 "A war movie should educate the viewer in any of a number of ways. We should appreciate courage and sacrifice, we should empathise with the cold, hungry and terrified. We should be told about historical events and their impact on the final outcome". (by Reebox from United Kingdom)

4 "Lack of dialogue and explanation means that much of the time you don't know who people are or where they're going or what they hope to accomplish when they get there". (by hanfuzzy from Barrie, Ontario, Canada)

5 "The character of the boy doesn't seem developed enough and the imagery presented in some so-called "intense" scenes did not truly attract my attention nor made me empathize with the character". (by dubbs37 from United States)

6 "Bad lead character development". (by entej from Russian Federation)

7 "The film is very slow and at many times throughout, nothing much is happening... The long, ringing in your ears, muted sound is off putting and not effective". (by richard6 from United Kingdom)

8 "I wanted to see more actual fighting, and how the war was perceived by soldiers not a 12 year old boy..." (by Steve Johnson (twiglet-1))

9 "The Nazis was professional killers, OK, but they were yet civilized (if I could say so) beside of a savage hypocrite murders called russians with their red army!.. Nazis were stupid kids beside Red Holocaust and Stalin. Be serious!!!!!" (by nazratst from Romania)

10 "The infamous village massacre happens in the last fifteen to twenty minutes of the film, and the German soldiers look so ridiculously evil and cartoon-like that it's very hard for this scene to have any particular interest or emotion. To be honest, I was so bored up to this point that the barbaric events unfolding on screen before me were almost welcoming as at least something was finally happening". (by JSwallowX1 from Ireland)

So, we can sum it all up in the lines below (adding some groovy spice will also help).

Being a piece of blunt Soviet propaganda, the film is devoid of any historical accuracy and artistic merit. It's dull and tedious with an uninteresting main character (who has absolutely no background and is free from any development – either physical or mental). Who cares about some kid during the war times? Give us a HERO, not a whimpering child! This "war" flick is neither entertaining nor serious. Its fictional happenings (women and children burnt in the barns by the Nazis? come on, in reality it was vice versa! read the historical documents!) pump up to the levels of "Star Wars" with one serious difference: "Star Wars" was at least thought-provoking and shocking. There is no decent music in the movie at all and the whole soundtrack cries out to get turned off. The last straw that could break any camel's back (i.e. insult any viewer's ears) was some cheap melody at the end of the flick. The whole movie is boring to such degree that any normal human being will yawn and fall asleep during the initial 10 minutes. If you want to see a real feat for the eyes and ears, watch the documentary "Der Ewige Jude", which IS a masterpiece at all levels and on top of everything has realistic cow scenes (unlike this one). Watch any USA picture with the WWII topic – they are not many, but at least they represent the historical facts and show us WHO won the World War II and at WHAT unspeakable price... The Russians exaggerate things immensely, making the events going on on their territory look like some kind of annihilation. Nonsense. The Germans were never cruel during the WWII on the USSR territory and they always behaved in a most decent manner. It was Russian troops who were deranged killers (there is even a historically accurate photo of a Russian soldier bullying a poor German woman and robbing her of her bicycle! and it happened in the streets of Berlin when the war was over! Check out the I-net archive footage if you don't believe! just imagine WHAT was happening during the war days!). The verdict: if you are a sane civilized and thinking European, stay far away from this schmoopy fantasy.

Do You agree? What do You know about the WWII? How empty is Your vision? To which extent are Your brains brainwashed and "freed"?

Any further comment is superfluous. Actually, this movie does not need any review or comment. But our today's way of life needs it badly. And today's cinema.

Thank you for attention.
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