Come and See ★★★★

Some of Come and See's best moments are are also its most flawed. The film is both slowly paced and incredibly indulgent, resulting in several scenes that are unforgettable partially because they capture the haunting essence of desperation, and partially because they seem to go on forever. One of the key sequences in the film is Flyora's and Glasha's marathon trudge through a literal quagmire; after they finally make it through the muddy morass, slogging, splashing and thrashing until they reach land, they are completely covered in its filth, and it seems to drive Flyora temporarily insane. While Klimov's fixation on some ideas, like this one, drag on into the territory of diminishing returns, even that works as an extension of the metaphor for Flyora's inescapable endurance of the war. Likewise, there may be some artistic rationalization for the excessive-to-redundant nature of the Germans' hideous murder of an entire village, as they continue to pump bullets and firebombs into a building already engulfed in flames to the point that there is little question of any survivors, but it goes on for another five minutes. It can be fairly argued that Come and See may have been even more impactful and provocative had some of these scenes been trimmed short of their sometimes absurd lengths, but there is no doubting that Klimov's vision is effective, and his motif of shooting silent close-ups of characters gazing directly into the camera for unnaturally long takes at narrative intervals is intentionally confrontational and revealing, especially given how drastically Flyora's appearance degrades with each new round of trauma.

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