Written and directed by Elem Klimov this movie is an intense, heart wrenching story about Nazi genocide in Belarus Khatyn. This movie became the evidence of war and a plea for peace.
Seven long painful years were spent making this film – from 1977 to 1984.
The notes by GOSKINO “were killing the movie.” However, Klimov didn’t agree to make changes. The only thing he changed was the original title “Kill Hitler” into “Come and see.”
The filming was shut down.
After experiencing a profound shock, Klimov for seven years tried to get the permission to shoot. And he won!
The lead role in the movie was played by a 15-year-old Siberian boy Alex Kravchenko who had no prior acting education. To look authentic, he was put on a diet. The effect of his weariness was emphasized by systematic jogging.
Raw Emotions Instead of Acting
Klimov had a lot of non-professional actors in his movie. These were older people who survived the war. They agreed to remember again all those horrors to leave for their descendants the memory of the true face of war. The director deliberately chose unknown actors, relying not on acting skills, but on the depth of emotional perception and personal experiences.
During filming, live ammunition and real shells were used to achieve the absolute accuracy on the screen.
For foreign audience the movie was so intense, that ambulances took away extremely impressionable viewers right from movie theaters.
The Naked Truth
Some people were scared by the shocking cruelty of the scenes; others did not want to believe in what they saw. Klimov recalled how in Germany during the discussion of the movie, an elderly German gentleman got up. He said that he was a soldier during the war and confirmed that everything on the screen was the truth, the whole thing did happen.
He added that he is most afraid and ashamed that this movie will be eventually seen by his grandchildren and children.
Elem Klimov managed to achieve what he had dreamed about: the film became a prayer for peace that remains in the heart of every viewer.
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