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Come and See

Come and See is the most unforgiving war film you will ever see.  

Year: 1985 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1 (Academy) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Elem Klimov 
Starring: Aleksey Kravchenko, Olga Mironova, Liubomiras Laucevicius  
An image from Come and See

The invasion of a village in Byelorussia by German forces sends young Florya into the forest to join the weary Resistance fighters, against his family’s wishes. There he meets a girl, Glasha, who accompanies him back to his village. On returning home, Florya finds his family and fellow peasants massacred. His continued survival amidst the brutal debris of war becomes increasingly nightmarish, a battle between despair and hope.


A real treat for us to be showing Come and See: the title should be taken literally on this occasion, though a Biblical allusion is the film’s real intention. Despite being a Russian war film with a punishing reputation, Klimov’s masterpiece has rumbled to cult fame: currently sitting at #2 in Letterboxd’s highest-rated narrative films.

Like Ivan’s Childhood before it, this is a WW2 drama that sits squarely in the experience of a child. But rather than using this for a filter of innocence, it is a tale of survival, where young Florya’s journey through Nazi-occupied Belarus opens his eyes to the brutality of war. And its grim subject matter is heightened by a superlative style - gliding hyperreal shots and the characters staring straight into the camera - to create the most worthy and artistic argument against conflict.

Max King

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Screenings of this film:

2022/2023 Autumn Term (digital)