Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ivan's childhood ( 1962 )

This is the first of Andrei Tarkovsky's seven feature films, when at the age of 30 he was trying to establish himself as a director. It won the Golden Lion at Venice. It is a film made and financed in the totalitarian Soviet state, but manages to distance itself at least partially from the official views. Of course the Soviet soldiers are shown to be consistently good hearted and reasonable.

It is the story of 12 year old Ivan, whose family has been wiped out by the invading Germans. He has a ferocious hatred. He behaves and talks and thinks like a grown up man as he seeks vengeance against the "fritzes". The film mixes dream and reality to examine the workings of the mind of this grotesque product of the scourge of war. While his family members have been killed he too is a wasteland who cannot see beyond the hatred born out of his experience. 

He is a pitifully deformed offspring of the un-naturalness of war. The dreams and memories of his earlier life before the loss of his family break like lightening flashes through his present inferno. There is something awesome in his consuming hatred, portraying an inner energy which in more nurturesome circumstances could have blossomed into something different.

Or is it an incarnation of Apu ?


Rona M Soni said...

So you have only three left of the guy's movies?

S M Rana said...


Yes, but there are too many guys and there is only one me.

Ronak M Soni said...

The "yes" would indicate that you understood my comment, but the rest that you didn't.
What I would like to point out is that if you want to make fun, you ought to separate the seriousness and the fun, since this looks really odd. :D

I've ended up, by accident, with copies of Solyaris and Stalker. It will, unfortunately, be a while till I get down to them.

PS: Have you yet watched all of any director's/writer's movies? I haven't.

S M Rana said...

@ Ronak

What I meant was that the law of diminishing returns applies to most things and I would rather read or view a finite set of carefully selected movies/books and not view a particular director completely unless I was doing something like a thesis. In that sense I found Roger Ebert's " Great Movies" a useful compass in my trajectory of movie-watching and saw about half of them.

Maybe I'll end up seeing the remaining two Tarkovsky's two remaining movies too.

Shakespeare wrote thirty eight and a half plays which are all available on the BBC series and I should have seen most of them.

Literary Dreamer said...

Plus, Shakespeare may have co-written another play, Edward III, though the majority of the play was written by someone else. Or, if you listen to another group of experts, Christopher Marlowe wrote it. As for that half of a play, Timon of Athens, you can skip it without feeling guilty. :-P

S M Rana said...


Timon is of impeccable parentage and interesting as an outpouring of invective.

Henry Eighth's authorship is dubious and so is that of Two Noble Kinsmen.'s_plays