War films. It’s a very blanket term to use for a huge group of films. In spite of this, they’re probably one of my least favourite types of film. I find them so hard to follow. And there’s usually crazy long battle scenes where I completely zone out and there are very few relatable characters. A sweeping statement for this huge group of films, I know. But I’ve seen a fair few and my opinion remains the same.
Therefore, I didn’t have high hopes for the Soviet Union’s Come and See. In fact, I was supposed to watch it for my December 2016 Blind Spot but couldn’t source a copy in time. Frankly, I was relieved. However, it is such an important Soviet film and is on all the top World Cinema lists, so I had to watch it eventually.
Thinking back through my film catalog, I think this is the only Soviet film I have seen. Ever. That’s damn shameful, but not surprising. I just want you to keep my potential ignorance in mind towards Soviet film in the late 1970s/80s because I did not like this film at all, but it might be a contextual failing on my part.
Come And See
Frankly, what a boring, overdramatic film with a much too over-eager score. I can’t even remember the last half of this film because it was just SO dull. Wikipedia had to help me with the plot deets.
The main dude in this film is Florya. Young Florya goes looking for a rifle in a desert as he wants to conscript to the military towards the end of World War II. Upon finding said rifle, he joins the military at a low rank. After being instructed to stay behind at the camp, he meets this super weird gal called Glasha who pretends to be some forest pixie-like girl for no reason. Super. They hide from German soldiers in the forest and go back to Florya’s town where he discovers his family has died.
Honestly, after that, it’s a bit of stumbling around with the military for a while until, at the very end, Florya uses his rifle for the first time on something in the ground that has the Nazi Swastika emblazoned on it and he decides to shoot it. Cue legit archive videos of Hitler meeting people and doing general Hitler things that we’ve all seen thousands of times befoe. And that’s the end of the film.
Why’d ya have to go and make things so complicated
Firstly, what is with the overegged acting style? You’d think this was an Orson Welles film with the silly laughing and larger than life expressions. It was weird, disjointed, and made the film so much harder to relate to.
And isn’t it really annoying when the music clearly wants you to feel/react a certain way to a scene but the action on screen has done nothing to deserve said reaction? During the scene where Glasha tells Florya he’s essentially living in fairy land and obvs his family has died, the music is incredibly loud and screechy. I’m all for making the audience uncomfortable, etc. but this got a resounding ‘eh?’ from moi. No time had been allowed to build up the suspense, Florya’s reaction was weird and the music was just annoying.
Finally, the film was just a waste of my time. It’s really got me annoyed. Maybe it was just the style I didn’t like, but I got the impression it wanted to open my eyes to the horrors of WWII from the Soviets point of view and we just didn’t get that. Which is a shame, because their point of view counts too. Hopefully, I will see a few more Soviet or Russian films in my lifetime and they will be much more pleasant experiences. I might even look forward to watching a Soviet war film!
Have you ever seen Come and See? I’d love to know if you actually liked it! Let me know why in the comments below.