Come and See ★★★★½

The first time I saw COME AND SEE, I was just too overwhelmed to grasp the reason behind my notion that something was lacking. Second time, I see the film coming and the roughness of this diamond is clearer to me. It really goes back to the old "can you really make a film about this"-problem, and Klimov's style is actually a lot more operatic and anti-realist than I first thought. More than an eye-witness account it's told from the point of view of a sweeping God's eye, and there's a sense of puppetry in the constant (seemingly deliberate) overacting from everyone involved.

Actually, COME AND SEE is oddly romantic, frank in it's attitude towards unspeakable horror (therefore seemingly realistic) but passionate in it's anger and, thus, truly full of the spirit of that horror. It's a weird flaw - the nameless and almost faceless characters become not examples of authenticity but rather objectified symbols in a fairy tale; the boy, the girl, the mother, the generals, the people, it's a live action puppet show with much horrifying sturm und drang.

It's still a totally unique and unforgettable film, just a little too wobbly to be a masterpiece (according to my own OCD-affected "taste"). Especially when it comes to WWII movies, it's one of the most impressive examples of counter-mythmaking I've seen. Even though it's not as documentarial as it may first seem, it's sure as hell ain't no postcard. Instead it's war's burning of the mind but in a kind of concentrated form - the whole of a mad psyche in one film; the cinematic version of a trauma not yet healed, still burning in the minds and memories of a place and a people.