Ivan’s Childhood (1962)

Ivan’s Childhood (Ivanovo detstvo)
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky
Written by Vladimir Bogomolov and Mikhail Papava from Bogomolov’s story
Mosfilm/Trete Tvorcheskoe Obedinenie
First viewing/Netflix rental

Ivan’s Mother: If a well is really deep, you can see a star down there even in the middle of a sunny day.

Loved it for the images but the story dragged.

As the film begins, the twelve-year-old Ivan is blissfully exploring nature.  He learns about the star at the bottom of a well when gunfire breaks out.  He awakens from his dream and makes his way across the Volga.  There he stops at the nearest Soviet post and demands that the officer inform the High Command of his arrival.  He refuses to answer any questions about his identity whatsoever.   The skeptical officer finally gives in and Ivan is taken to the Command where we learn that he is a valuable scout and loved by his adult colleagues.  They want to send him to the rear to study at the military institute but the defiant Ivan is interested only in vengeance.

The rest of the movie rather confusingly covers various episodes covering a few days in the lives of these people.  Ivan continues to dream sporadically while preparing for his next mission.

There are some unforgettable images and sequences in this movie.  The clip shows one of the best, though I wanted to smack that officer.  I think we were supposed to see him as manly.  My husband and I both thought the story became very repetitive.  In addition, I couldn’t quite grasp the military strategy underlying the whole thing.  In other words, it is an impressive feature film debut for Tarkovsky but not something I will need to see again.