Saturday, 12 March 2011

Elem Klimov: Come and See - Иди и смотри (1985)

Directed by Elem Klimov.
Starring Aleksey Kravchenko, Olga Mironova, Liubomiras Lauciavicius

Soviet war movie and psychological horror drama.

* 1985—FIPRESCI prize at the Moscow International Film Festival.
* 1985—Golden Prize at the Moscow International Film Festival

An overview of Elem Klimov's career by Josephine Woll in Kinoeye.

Elem Klimov, who died on 26 October 2003, had two careers: one as a director of films during the last two decades of the Soviet state, the other as a leader in the effort to refashion Russian cinema as and after the Soviet Union disintegrated. In both capacities, Klimov demonstrated dexterity and professionalism in handling the tools of film-making—the camera, the cast, the cash and the bureaucrats who so often tried to control all three. Although he took on administrative roles in the film industry after 1986, Klimov never became a bureaucrat himself: even when he traded in his director's chair for a desk model, he retained a film-maker's eye and a film-maker's passion.

Western audiences know Klimov-the-director chiefly from his later films, especially Agoniia (Rasputin, 1975, released 1984) and Idi i smotri (Come and See, 1985). Both are historical films, the first a sensationalist but serious portrait of the improbably sensationalist "advisor" to Nicholas II, Grigory Rasputin, the second a harrowing account of Nazi brutality in Belarus in 1943.

But Klimov launched his career with comedy. Klimov studied at VGIK, the premier Soviet film school, in the turbulent, exciting late 1950s and early 1960s, along with a raft of talented young men—Andrei Tarkovsky, Andrei Konchalovsky, Vasily Shukshin—and at least one talented young woman, Larisa Shepitko, whom he married. After graduating in 1964, Klimov made his debut with Dobro pozhlovat', ili postoronnim vkhod vospreshchen (Welcome or No Trespassing, 1964).

Based on a witty script by two accomplished writers, Semyon Lungin and Ilia Nusinov, Dobro pozhlovat' depicts a Young Pioneer summer camp under the heavy hand of its hide-bound director, Dynin, played with wonderful panache by Evgeny Evstigneev. Obsequious toward authority, resistant to innovation, hostile to any idea smacking of independence, however trivial, Dynin was a familiar type on Soviet screens. But Klimov made of the material a fresh, witty satire that pokes fun at a variety of Soviet pieties, contrasting whimsical fantasy and precisely-observed and photographed reality. "We shot everything head-on," Klimov explained, "like posters or portraits. [...] If the picture has any originality, it lies in the eclectic style, the mixture of theater-poster and documentary."[1]... more

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