Few big-screen depictions of World War II have brought its atrocities to life with the brutality and cinematic ingenuity of Come and See, the legendary final film by Soviet director Elem Klimov. A restoration of this masterpiece opens today at New York’s Film Forum, introducing new audiences to its devastating tale of a teenage boy who joins the Soviet resistance in search of glory, only to find himself lost in a world of carnage and depravity.
It may not be an experience for the faint of heart, but Come and See is nevertheless a work of staggering beauty. Read what critics have written on the occasion of Janus Films’ long-awaited rerelease:
- “Seldom if ever have wartime atrocities been depicted so vividly—and with such hallucinated fervor,” writes J. Hoberman in the New York Times. Describing Klimov’s mastery of sound and image, he goes on to write: “The light is unearthly. The Steadicam seldom stops moving through a Boschian hellscape, filled with unseen voices and offscreen dangers.”
- Since it was released in 1985, Come and See has inspired some extraordinary artwork, including Janus’s brand-new one-sheet. For the Notebook, Adrian Curry walks through the history of poster designs for the film, most of which feature the young protgagonist’s haunted face front and center.
- Also at the Notebook, Jeremy Carr writes that “through its delineation of genocidal devastation, uncanny desperation, and utter helplessness, Klimov’s film proves largely unparalleled in the genre.”
- Further attesting to Come and See’s dominance in the history of its genre, Pat Brown at Slant calls the film “a cinematic simulacrum of the overwhelming, discombobulating sensory experience of war that would have an influence on virtually every war movie made after it.”
Find showtimes at Film Forum’s website, then watch our new trailer for the film below: