“Ivan’s Childhood” Through the Eyes of Tarkovsky

Ivan's Childhood

Despite mixed reviews, all critics and audiences unanimously admitted that there hasn’t been another film like that about World War II.

Andrei Tarkovsky got interested in the scenario of M. Papava and he was right – his debut became a success.

The Storyline

The war was on. Father of a 12-year-old boy died at the front. Ivan witnessed a bloody massacre: the Nazis shot dead his mother and sister. In an instant his childhood ended.

The teen joined one of the army units and became an intelligence operator. He had a mission of revenge. He feared only one thing – to be sent back to the home front. So, he tried to be the most indispensable soldier.

All the horrors of war are exposed using the contrast of Ivan’s dreams and reality. In his dreams he laughs, he sees his mother and sister. A light music is playing. Suddenly, everything stops, and the boy is back in a grim reality.

Many times Ivan manages to get important information about the enemy and survive. But one day a young intelligence operator will not return to his unit.

The Main Idea and Its Realization

The main idea of ​​the creative team – war destroys people’s souls, distorts their lives. According to the original scenario, the Soviet military rescues Ivan. But the writer in the process abandoned such an upbeat ending – the children of war do not get another, new life. They will always suffer from having the weight of war on their shoulders.

With this film began a long collaboration of Tarkovsky with a talented cameraman Yusov. The lead actor Nicholai Burljaev was only 14 years old. In order to achieve credibility and realistic scenes, the director demanded from the teenager not acting, but the truth of life. Nicholai could truly feel during the filming process what the war was like.

Huge Recognition

The press called “Ivan’s Childhood” a sensation. Immediately after the movie’s release in 1962, at the Venice International Film Festival it was awarded the Grand Prize. The same year – the main prize at the film festival in San Francisco and an award from the 4th Film Festival in Montreal. A special diploma was given to Tarkovsky in Karlovy Vary in 1970 for the best anti-fascist film.

The film about a little life that got crashed by the war will not leave anyone indifferent.

The movie with English subtitles

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