by guest writer
Ivan’s Childhood (1962) was Andrei Tarkovsky’s second feature, even though he did direct two shorts at the beginning of his career in the late 50’s. Having seen this movie only two times until now, I have to say I am eager to watch it again soon. Probably the film should be considered the best WWII moment caught on celluloid. It stands the test of time and it will never lose its grip upon tragedies created by the conflagration. Perhaps the most striking element is Kolya Burlyayev’s interpretation of Ivan, as a 12 year old boy adventuring through the enemy lines to gather intelligence.
The images captured by cinematographer Vadim Yusov form a visual poetry rarely seen in film. The camera’s expressionistic feel is an omnipresent voice and gives the movie the authenticity required by such realistic subjects. One more leitmotif is central to film: the dreams or the past-present-future boundary. Such an artistic accomplishment couldn’t be achieved by any other director, in the sense that it surpasses the subconscious with such easiness opening doors that we never thought existed. The beginning shots are in great harmony with the ending shots, simply composed as a sort of communion between what was lost and what was gained. Beautiful, overwhelming!
photo: still from the film / credit: Mosfilm