Author Topic: Come and See  (Read 291 times)

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Offline Jarhead0331

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Come and See
« on: June 30, 2020, 06:32:08 AM »
This Russian war film from 1985 has been popping up in my YouTube feed lately and it caught my attention. Itís been described by some as one of the greatest, most authentic war films ever made. I had to get it to see what all the fuss was about and was able to get a copy on dvd from amazon without too much difficulty.

It tells the story of a young boy in Belarus in 1943 who after digging up a rifle from an old battlefield, joins the partisans against his motherís wishes. Almost immediately, separated from his unit, he finds himself alone in the woods in the middle of an assault by Fallschirmjagers.

In my opinion, itís not so much a war film, per se, but a movie about wartime atrocities during WWII on the eastern front. Come and See mixes realism with, at times, some sort of psychedelic surrealism, which is really effective at creating haunting imagery. While I donít think the movie was that great overall, it got into my mind and kept me from resting easily when I tried to sleep and Iím still thinking about it this morning.

Most of the disturbing sequences involve an SS unit that appears to represent the Dirlewanger Brigade, a unit of German criminals that raped, pillaged and murdered their way across the eastern front. At the start of the war, they were all convicted poachers, but by 1944, they were openly recruiting sadistic murderers and rapists. By all accounts, their cruelty was matched only by their ineptitude as soldiers, and the film captures both.

The title, Come and See is taken from the the Book of John:

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, "Come and see!" And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

Itís hard to accept that ordinary men can be so evil. It is hard to understand that the events depicted in the film really happened on a massive scale, and that these things happened recently in the 20th century. Belarus suffered greatly during the war. Even before the German occupation, tens of thousands were rounded up and killed by the soviets. Under German occupation, hundreds of villages were burned to the ground together with all of their inhabitants. Millions were killed over the three years of German rule. The simple farmers who had the misfortune of living there were trapped between two extreme murderous regimes.  I think what troubles me most about the movie is that it made me think about the very thin delicate line between civilization and total murderous chaos at any given time, and with recent events and trends, I fear we are headed down a road that could lead again toward slaughter.

« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 07:47:31 AM by Jarhead0331 »
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Offline Gusington

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Re: Come and See
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2020, 07:34:41 AM »
I'm going to guess that this is a 'well done film but hard to watch' like Schindler's List or the first half hour of Saving Private Ryan...
"I'm not even dead and I'm rolling over in my grave."

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Offline Jarhead0331

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Re: Come and See
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2020, 07:38:50 AM »
I'm going to guess that this is a 'well done film but hard to watch' like Schindler's List or the first half hour of Saving Private Ryan...

Difficult to watch at times, yes, but on the other hand, I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. There really isn't much direct gore in the film. It is more the implication and inference of wholesale massacre that the viewer instinctively knows is going to happen. I think this is much more compelling and thought provoking than the outright depiction of violence and carnage.   
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Offline Pete Dero

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Re: Come and See
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2020, 07:56:51 AM »
If you ever have the chance have a look at the mini series 'Unsere Mutter unsere Vater" (Generation War in English).


Offline Gusington

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Re: Come and See
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2020, 07:57:38 AM »
The implication is sometimes worse than seeing any blood - I hear that for sure.
"I'm not even dead and I'm rolling over in my grave."

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Offline Dammit Carl!

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Re: Come and See
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2020, 08:41:58 AM »
I certainly mean to watch this at some point.

And yes, the veneer between civilized and barbaric is precariously thin.

Offline Tripoli

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Re: Come and See
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2020, 08:57:52 AM »
...

And yes, the veneer between civilized and barbaric is precariously thin.

Along those lines, watch Branagh's "Conspiracy.", which is a dramatization of the " Wannsee" conference where the logistics of the Holocaust were planned.  The movie is basically a dinner party where the details of mass murder were worked out.  https://www.amazon.com/Conspiracy-Kenneth-Branagh/dp/B00005YUO1/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1VK74TDXI54LY&dchild=1&keywords=conspiracy+dvd+2001&qid=1593528716&sprefix=Conspiracy+Dvd%2Caps%2C181&sr=8-1

Offline SirAndrewD

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Re: Come and See
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2020, 09:19:10 PM »
Along those lines, watch Branagh's "Conspiracy."

I used to show Conspiracy in my classes.  Very good film and taken from the minutes of Wansee.  Stunning stuff. 

Come and See, yeah, I saw it.  I watched it in the late 90's with one of my professors and a few friends.   We were taking a class on the Holocaust with the professor at the time.   Difficult to watch.