i smotri (Come and See) (1985)
from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
Soviet-era Russian film that engages in
surprisingly realistic depictions of war. Obviously the Soviet censors
relaxed their standards a bit when it came to portraying German
|In this case, the film is
told through the eyes of a 13 year Byelorussian boy who witnessed the
German atrocities of 1943 firsthand. The Germans went on a rampage
through Byelorus, burning more than 600 villages to the ground, often
locking all the inhabitants in the largest building before setting it
|a brief breast
exposure from a dying/dead victim of German abuse
|It isn't really a film in
the conventional sense. It might be titled "visions of war",
because that's all it is. Imagine a book of photographs depicting war
atrocities and horrific visions of war in general. Now imagine that
book coming to life as the still photos become film clips. Now further
imagine that it isn't actual footage from 1943, but staged
re-enactments to instruct people about what the war was like.
Now you have this movie in mind.
||Some memorable moments:
- The boy tries to steal a cow to
feed those hiding from the Germans. The cow is shot and dies. He
sleeps on the recently-deceased cow for warmth and a pillow, the
tries to devise a plan to move the cow because it's not too late
to make steaks from it.
- A girl does a lunatic dance in the
- The Germans cheer as the peasants
- Boys dig through battlefield
carnage looking for guns left behind by dead soldiers.
As a succession of images, a
collection of interrelated vignettes, it is brilliant. It creates a
harrowing world of corpses, soldiers arriving from the skies,
starvation, dirt, and cruelty. The imagery is original.
Unfortunately there is no story.
guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence, about like three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, about like two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, about like two stars from the critics.
Films under five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film, equivalent to about one
and a half stars from the critics or less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
guideline: A means the movie is so good it
will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not
good enough to win you over if you hate the
genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an
open mind about this type of film. C means it will only
appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover
appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you
like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if
you love the genre. F means that the film is not only
unappealing across-the-board, but technically
inept as well.
Based on this
description, this film is a C+. Excellent as a true-to-life
docudrama, but has no plot of any kind, and will not appeal to
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