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Come and See (1985)
Idi i smotri (original title)
Director: Elem Klimov
Cast: Aleksey Kravchenko, Olga Mironova, Liubomiras Laucevicius
Genre: Drama, War
Country: Russia

During WWII, A young boy finds an old rifle buried in the sand he joins the Soviet resistances. He is forced to endure many horrors at the hands of the Nazi forces.

Come and See...is a heavy handed Soviet propaganda film about as subtle as a bottle of Smirnoff served in a dirty glass.

I tried watching this movie years ago but couldn't get past the opening scene of an old man yelling at a boy digging in the sand. The boy sounds like a half-crazed, possessed demon. Talk about grating on the nerves.

But this time I did watch the entire film...and after the opening scene the movie actually got much better. The scenes from where the boy is at his families cabin...then joins the partisan fighters where he's put onto guard duty and then left behind in camp...when all of a sudden the woods around him begin to explode...was some of the best film making I've seen! My gaze was fixed on the screen and I scantly breathed, that's how engrossed in the film I was. At that point I really though Come and See would be at favorite.

Then the film tries to get artsy. We get elements randomly included that's suppose to make the un-skeptical convinced that this is high art. Sorry folks, but tying a stork to a tree in the middle of the woods or placing a cute lemur on the shoulder of a soldier is not art. Neither is the often repeated shot of the plane in the sky. This is where the film started to lose me with it's forced creativity and scenes that were slow as molasses.

But what sank this film is the final act, when German soldiers surround a small country village, rounding up the people into a wooden barn, then with as much joy and demonic pleasure as the film makers can show, burn the people alive. All the German soldiers are character parodies, looking like they're fresh out of a Monty Python skit. It's a ridiculously staged scene for what should be a somber event.

That scene is where the iron arm of the Soviet Union runs rickshaw over the story line. German soldiers are shown tutoring the Russian peasants. The solders jump around with clown like joy as the building burns with the people inside. Then just to make sure we know the German soldiers are the bad guys, they also machine gun the building and also through hand grenades into it...and like that wasn't enough, then they use a flame thrower on a building that is already engulfed in flames.

A few scenes latter and the triumph Russians partisans have some how managed to conquer and capture the Germans. The film makers then have a SS man give his hate spew on how all Russians and all inferior nations must be exterminated like vermin...

The German soldiers in the film are full of race hatred...and that's when it occurred to me, that the very thing this film seeks to show, is itself guilty of!

Not one of the German soldiers are shown to be human, not one of them is shown to be reluctant to follow orders to burn alive men women and children.

I've never seen a film that was more one sided and propagandist.