Ivan’s Childhood (1962)

Ivan’s Childhood (1962) – Andrei Tarkovsky

Ivanovo Detstvo (original title)

Summary:  Ivan, a 12 year old boy, is an orphan due to World War II which continues to dehumanise the most of Europe in Ivan’s present life.  With no family, he is seized and taken care of by Russian soldiers, who are trying to groom him into a soldier too, allowing him to cross over into German lines to work as a spy, as after all no-one would suspect a young boy.  Despite Ivan projecting a tough exterior he experiences flashbacks of his peaceful life before war, with his mother and sister, who were killed in a concentration camp.

My review:  This was director Andrei Tarkovsky’s first feature film and I know film being described as an art form can be an overused cliché I hear too often but when I watched this film a while ago (way before this blog was born) it was this film which really proved it to me.  The beautiful, yet painful contrast of shots of Ivan’s present; wading through bleak swampy marshes, hiding from German soldiers, to the sun kissed flashbacks of his past, on serene beaches, or sitting on the back of an apple cart playing with his sister, Tarkovsky creates and delivers it with such precise yet delicate ambience.  No other black and white movie has ever made me recollect scenes, when not watching the film, in my mind with such atmospheric colour, there’s so many shots in this film which are just so, so stunning.  Tarkovsky, as a cinematographer, is one of the best and will always be timeless.

Rating:  4/5

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