Nick Vass’s review published on Letterboxd:
Ivan has lost his family in the midst of WWII. He lives all alone, moving from one hiding place to another; just trying to stay alive. But he is captured by Russian soldiers to whom desire "a report" - in other words, a chronicling of his childhood before the war.
Tarkovsky's approach to the narrative is constructed through a kind of non-linear ellipticism; gliding camerawork reminiscent of Truffaut's The 400 Blows, with flashbacks revealing increments of the little boy's history.
It would be facile to say that his infancy has been stolen; and yet it's precisely what has happened. Ivan may be victim to a contemptible system, but is nonetheless aware that his generation is a requirement in order to perpetuate itself.
Simply put, Ivan's Childhood is a thoroughly effective anti-war film which is drenched in striking visual symbolism and bountiful poetry. Bulyayev’s incredible performance is also the perfect embodiment of hatred, horror and fiery anger. Considering this is a debut (my only other Tarkovsky so far is his richly profound Solaris), I sure know a rewarding journey lies ahead.