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Come and See (1985)

After finding an old rifle, a young boy joins the Soviet resistance movement against ruthless German forces and experiences the horrors of World War II.
Original title: Idi i smotri
(NR, 142 min.)


Wednesday, March 15, 2023

7:00 PM

All Essential Arthouse films are Free for Members

This widely acclaimed film from Soviet director Elem Klimov is a stunning, senses-shattering plunge into the dehumanizing horrors of war. As Nazi forces encroach on his small village in present-day Belarus, teenage Flyora (Aleksei Kravchenko, in one of the screen’s most searing depictions of anguish since Renée Falconetti’s Joan of Arc) eagerly joins the Soviet resistance. Rather than the adventure and glory he envisioned, what he finds is a waking nightmare of unimaginable carnage and cruelty—rendered with a feverish, otherworldly intensity by Klimov’s subjective camerawork and expressionistic sound design. Nearly suppressed by Soviet censors who took eight years to approve its script, Come and See is perhaps the most visceral, impossible-to-forget antiwar film ever made. [Janus]

Starring: Aleksey Kravchenko, Olga Mironova, Liubomiras Laucevicius
Director: Elem Klimov
Languages: German, Russian, Belarusian
Genre(s): Drama, War

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"I have rarely seen a film more ruthless in its depiction of human evil."

— Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"A relentless masterpiece, and a brilliant study of the cause and effect nature of brutality."

— Ian Nathan, Empire Magazine

"A disorienting and undifferentiated amalgam of almost lyrical poeticism and expressionist nightmare."

— Wally Hammond, Time Out

"'Come and See' is a paradox: a visceral freefall into barbarism, but also a controlled, sometimes contemplative descent."

— Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

"In Klimov's unshakable vision, death is casual, safety is impossible and beauty is backwards: this is peerlessly gorgeous filmmaking about absolute ugliness."

— Adam Nayman, eye WEEKLY

"This is a film that argues for and thoroughly understands the urgent, present-tense, shifting surreality of war. It is not merely a narrative reimagining of that experience."

— K. Austin Collins, Vanity Fair