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Even in the first films of Tarkovsky you can see his emerging style and a great attention to details. Beautifully shot.
The film stands out from the most of WW2 films made in Soviet Union, which were usually easier to digest and more propaganda-like, showing only the best qualities of the soldiers, leaving all the bad things happening at war behind the camera. That's what Tarkovsky's film is opposite to.
This is one of the films that you know is â~important' when going in and the fact that it is Russian and concerns a lot of men in the military served to further alienate me. Watching the film I found it remarkably easy to connect with as it never tries to be bigger than the story of three different men, or boy in one case, and their struggles during a few days in the war. Tarkovsky seems to understand how to challenge the idea of war without devolving into rambling monologues or painfully self righteous dialogue instead he gives us flawed but simple characters who have human concerns. I would recommend this to people because it manages to convey a simple idea well and for an art-house classic it's accessible and short.
Ivan Bondarev, Nikolai Burlyayev, swims to a military post where he meets Lieutenant Galtsev, Evgeny Zharikov, who is initially resistant to accepting him. Lieutenant Colonel Gryaznov, Nikolai Grinko, is Galtsev's superior and he urges him to accept and protect Ivan. It is quickly revealed that Ivan's family was murdered by German soldiers and he was able to escape. A love triangle develops between Galtsev, local nurse Masha, Valentina Malyavina, and his direct superior Kholin, Valentin Zubkov. Ivan is determined to get revenge for the murder of his family members but will come to a tragic end. Throughout we see flashbacks to Ivan's life on the beach and his loving mother running ahead of him.
The most affecting moments for me were the flashbacks as we see him remember the warmth and comfort that came with his mother. The final scene in the film is a flashback of sorts as we understand that Ivan has been hanged, we see his head spinning, the contrasting of this with his memory of a day in which he and his mother ran, carefree, down a beach was utterly depressing. The idea of clinging to family is relatable to all audiences and the sharp divisions between the joy he felt as a child and the pain and fear he faces as he forced to become an adult due to the war.
The dialogue is sparing and well used as it conveys subtle details like the fact that Galtsev is attracted to Masha without directly saying it. Ivan's attempts to convince those around him that he is capable of taking down those who murdered his family are obviously in vain but screenwriter Vladmir Bogomolov captures the speaking style of a twelve year old well. The tone of the film is remarkably breezy while not turning away from the harshness of war and it manages to tell the smaller stories of the characters' lives without becoming too caught up in them or not developing them enough.
The cinematography is impressive as Vadim Yusov, who would go on to work with Tarkovsky several more times, uses moody black and white to display just how hard life in Russia was at that time. The flashbacks are always shown as sunny as there is a brightness and a softness to the shots of the beach that are completely different to the harsh angles and lines of the military outpost. All of this seems obvious but it is an obvious visual cue done well which causes it to have more effect than if the film had a complex and hard to understand visuals. The score is also minimal, Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov manages to illustrate the points that Tarkovsky attempts to make with each scene and never calls out a moment with excessively dramatic music. The near perfect technical execution of this raises it from good to great as Tarkovsky proves with just his first feature film that he can assemble great talent.
This film manages to show the audience why war is bad more articulately than most films I have seen. A big part of this is the brevity because you never become tired of these characters and you get the simple message without extraneous scenes and dialogue. Having recently watched Dances with Wolves (1990) I was thrilled to see such a short but meaningful film that is expertly crafted. This is one of those pictures that stays with you, I know the final shots will haunt me.
It did take me a while to really get into this film. The first time I saw it I was really bored by this movie. I did learn to appreciate this film the more I understood more about Tarkovsky's style of slow cinema. Once you understand him more, you'll probably appreciate this movie more.
Ivan's Childhood is an impressive debut from Andrei Tarkovsky, building an intense and sad anti-war depiction of innoccences lost on the battlefield.
Wow, Andrei was really flexing his creative muscles in this one. An incredibly personal story set inmidst the war. Every stillframe could be printed and would make for amazing wall art. Brillant camerawork from Wadim Jussow and extraordinary transitions make the movie float from scene to scene and create an exuberant experience that won't allow you to blink even once.
we had to watch a few Tarkovsky films for a class and i was amazed by this. especially after watching Nostalghia. this was more concrete and real but still playing with the theme of memory and it is also more aesthetically pleasing in the midst of war. it reminded me of The search with montgomery clift but this is like the harsh reality version.
Dare un giudizio critico ad un film così vecchio sarebbe folle e praticamente impossibile. Quello che posso fare è riunire una serie di pensieri e opinioni riguardo il primo film di questo regista, tanto geniale quanto enigmatico e contraddittorio. L'infanzia di Ivan è un film ricco di simbolismi, che sbalzano lo spettatore dagli ambienti più onirici e psicologici a quelli crudi e terreni della triste realtà della seconda guerra mondiale. Il punto di forza del film sono le splendide inquadrature e le scelte registiche, che rispecchiano perfettamente la mentalità geniale di Tarkovskij, dimostrando a gran voce di essere non solo un ottimo regista, ma soprattutto un intelligentissimo artista. Il film in generale è fortemente radicato nel periodo storico in cui è uscito, e farne una valutazione oggettiva sarebbe molto difficile, bisognerebbe vivere l'esperienza con la stessa mentalità del popolo russo quando il film uscì. Nonostante questo, l'infanzia di Ivan rimane un'esperienza molto forte che ancora adesso ha moltissime cose da insegnare.
The contrast between Ivan's attitude and the one of the soldiers is brilliant, just like Tarkovsky's filmmaking, even in his first feature film.
Ivan's Childhood has a couple of unnecessary sequences and the titular protagonist isn't as likable as he should have been, but this is a very good debut for Tarkovsky as Nikolai Burlyaev delivered a very strong performance, the story is well told and pleasantly straightforward and the film is so beautifully shot with some striking imagery and its exquisite visual quality is surely its standout aspect.
Pure soviet poetry thats goes deep into the war theme to explore and present the many ideas that stem from being under such a surreal and detailed lens.