Elem Klimov fu un
continuatore della commedia eccentrica di Kozincev in
Zhenikh/ The Bridegroom (1960)
and his first two feature-length films
Dobro Pozhalovat ili Postoronnim Vkhod Vospreshchyon/ Welcome or No Trespassing (1964), che dipinge
il mondo dei bambini contro la
grigia società degli adulti,
Pokhozhdyeniya Zubnovo Vracha/ Adventures of a Dentist (1965), su un dentista
dotato del potere soprannaturale di estrarre denti senza dolore (allegoria dell'artista/scienziato).
Si spinse anche nel film storico con
Agonija/ Agony (1970), radiografia del sistema zarista sotto il regno di Rasputin, impersonato dall'attore Aleksei Petrenko], e
Idi i Smotri/ Come and See (1985),
ricostruzione dell'eccidio di Bielorussi ad opera dei Nazisti visto dagli occhi di un
ragazzo, unico scampato, un'avventura tanto macabra quanto picaresca.
An old man rails against boys digging in his sandy land, imitated by a boy.
It is 1943 in German-occupied Belarus and two boys are digging into graves of German soldiers, looking for rifles.
They rejoice when they find one and then they see a
reconnaissance airplane flying over their heads.
The older boy, Flor, who found the rifle tells his mother that he wants to join
the Soviet partisans. His mother, who also has to take care of two little
girls, tries in vain to stop him but he's too excited.
The partisans come to pick him up in a horse-driven cart and he leaves while
the whole village watches, including village elder Yustin (the old man of the
He is taken to the camp of commander Kosach.
While he is on duty the chief approaches him. Flor asks him for the password,
as instructed. The chief doesn't say it. Flor doesn't shoot him and the chief
reproaches him for not shooting. Then the young nurse of the camp arrives and walks past
him treating him like an idiot when he insists that she tells him the password.
The following day he has to wash a cauldron from the inside while the soldiers
admire the beautiful woman.
The commander gives a speech about the new dangerous mission and asks if anyone
cannot march. When an old man reveals that his boots are falling apart,
Kosach orders Flor to give him his boots.
Flor, who was excited to join the mission, is hurt and walks in the forest
until he meets the nurse who is crying. He guessed that she is in love
with Kosach and worried about him. Crying himself, he shows her the broken
boots and makes her laugh. She tells him her name, Glasha, and that Kosach
will be killed. She sounds delirious as she shows him a grenade that she may
use to blow herself up and then kisses him in the mouth.
They are interrupted by the reconnaissance airplane flying over their heads.
Then bombs start to fall nearly killing them and destroying the camp.
Flor is left deaf for a few seconds by the explosions and can't hear what
Glasha is shouting at him. Then he sees that
the planes have dropped German paratroopers on the camp.
Glasha grabs his hand and pulls him into the forest just in time as the
Germans start shooting at them.
Flor and Glasha hide in the forest under a blanket.
Before falling asleep Flor tells Glasha that he will take her to his home.
In the morning he still can't hear well, but they play like children and
Glasha even dances for him in the rain. Flor needs to improvise crutches to
walk but they reach the village. He finds the village deserted and his own home
abandoned. Flor concludes that his mother and his sisters simply walked to a
nearby island, but, staring at the toys of the girls, he guesses the tragedy.
Nonetheless, he asks glasha to run with him towards the island. He doesn't
see what she sees: a pile of naked corpses. A hysterical
Flor, desperate to find his family alive, makes her wade through quicksands to reach the island.
Glasha shouts at him that his family is dead. He can barely hear her but his
reaction is violent. Just then a lone partisan,
Roubej, appears and helps them out
of the mud. He escorts them to the place where the survivors are hiding.
He still cannot hear well, but can hear that they are telling him that
the Germans kill his family.
Among them is the dying village elder, who reproaches him for digging German
graves: that's the reason why the Germans attacked the village.
Everybody around him is crying. Feeling guilty, Flor puts his head in the mud.
Glasha and the howling women pull him out.
The villagers build a Hitler puppet which Roubej carries with him while
escorting Flor and other partisans to look for food.
However, they are met by German troops and have to run away while being shot at.
Roubej still carries the Hitler puppet which they plant in a field where
German tanks drive. The following morning Roubej and Flor resume the mission
but the others are blown to pieces by landmines.
The reconnaissance airplane flies over their heads.
Flor's hearing is back to normal.
In the evening Roubej and Flor force a farmer to give them one of his cows.
Roubej, Flor and the cow run through an open field until they are spotted by
German artillery and a barrage of bullets rains on them.
Flor survives, Roubej is killed. A second storm of bullets kills also the cow.
Flor has to spend the night lying on the ground next to the dead cow
while the Germans shoot lights in the sky to find him. He wakes up protected
by a thick mist. He tries in vain to drag the dead cow with him but it's too heavy. He finds a horse attached to a cart full of hay and takes it.
A peasant runs after him protesting that it is his cart. Flor tells him that
villagers are starving to death in the forest. They are interrupted by German
soldiers. The peasants hides him under the hay in the cart.
The peasant takes him to the village telling him to adopt the identity of
a man who drowed. A German convoy is entering the village.
Flor witnesses as the Germans force
all the villagers to assemble in one place.
Flor realizes that the Germans are about to shoot these villagers the way they
shot his own.
He tries in vain to warn them. Nobody listens to him in the general chaos and
noise while the German soldiers begin to steal animals and food.
The Germans squeeze all the villagers into the church and then lock the door.
Flor is silent in the middle of the chaotic and panicking crowd.
He jumps out of a window but is quickly captured.
A young woman jumps out of the same window with her child, but they too are quickly captured: the soldiers throw the child back in and drag the woman in the
Then some Germans throw grenades and Molotov bottles inside the church while
the others clap amused. The church starts burning and the Germans start
shooting to make sure nobody escapes.
Flor sees again the reconnaissance airplane flying over their heads.
The Germans prepare to leave after using napalm to burn all the homes of
the village, and sparing only an old woman on her bed.
Four Germans take a picture with Flor as if they are about to execute him
but then leave him alone and he faints.
The Germans leave the village amused as if they had just been at a party.
The woman is dragged on a truck where soldiers compete to grab her.
They all ignore Flor because he seems to be dead.
When the Germans are gone, the survivors wander around the ruins.
Flor returns to the place where the peasant found him and recovers his rifle.
The woman who has been gang raped walks towards him, her legs and face covered in blood and blowing in a whistle.
But the Germans have been captured by Kosach's partisans (not shown in the film),
and Flor witnesses as Kosach, the partisan's commander, interrogates the German commander.
The German commander tries to lie about his responsibility but one of his
officials tells the truth: he thinks that the Russian race doesn't deserve
to exist and must be exterminated.
Kosach would like the Germans to be burned alive but the crowd starts
The partisans then leave. We see documentary footage of the concentration camps
and of Hitler. Flor sees a boy who looks like him at the beginning of the film
and finds a portrait of Hitler that is lying in a muddy puddle.
Flor begins to shoot at the portrait.
Then we see documentary footage of the story of Hitler played backwards at
high speed, as if fast-rewinding the tape all the way to Hitler's birth, and
at the same time we see Flor still shooting at the Hitler portrait.
Finally, Flor runs after the partisans who are marching into the forest.
plot-less philosophical Proshchanie/ Farewell (1982).