Ivan's Childhood

Ivan's Childhood ★★★★½

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Film #3: Ivan's Childhood (1962)

The way Andrei Tarkovsky evokes emotional responses through Ivan's Childhood, which is, after all, his first feature-length film, is raw and devastating. Here he presents a young boy, 12 years old, crossing through a war-torn landscape at the Eastern Front during World War II. It's now famous for being one of the first anti-war films produced in the Soviet Union that tackled the theme of loss of humanity during wartime, as opposed to glorifying war deeds.

The filmmaking is utterly gorgeous. The black-and-white cinematography of the recently restored version looks splendid. What disrupted my viewing experience was the mere fact that I was unable to locate a version with decent subtitles, so I ultimately had to settle for one which had subtitles that were displaced by half a minute. I had to focus heavily in order to not lose my overview during the more dialogue-heavy scenes. But it's really my own fault, as it was removed from the Mubi library very recently, where I had the chance to watch it for months. Whenever I have the chance to rewatch this film properly, I will not hesitate to do so.

Some of Tarkovsky's filmmaking techniques had me in shock. The camerawork looks brilliant and is a standout of the film. Towards the ending of the film, there is a sequence displaying a car driving through heavy rain, and it's one of the most gorgeously filmed clips I have ever seen.

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