Soviet Film Wednesday: Ivan’s Childhood

The Criterion Collection – Ivan’s Childhood (1962)

Ivan’s Childhood (aka My Name is Ivan) was made in 1962, and is widely regarded as one of the most skillfully crafted films of all time. It is directed by Andrei Tarkovsky and stars a young Nikolay Burlyaev.

The film delves into the impact of war on young Ivan, a twelve year old orphan who befriends three Soviet soldiers during World War II.

In a review for The Independent, Geoffrey Macnab comments on the filmmaking, saying “Tarkovsky pays full attention to the squalor and pity of war but never loses his sense of poetry. Whether filming a courtship scene in the woods or showing light reflecting off the water, the camerawork is astonishingly fluid and inventive.”

While the captivating camera movement of this film, as well as most of Tarkovsky’s films, can be compared to a ballet, this is also one of those films where you could freeze any frame and the image would be a thing of beauty in itself. It’s one of my favorite films of all time; here is a tribute trailer to Ivan’s Childhood.

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