With the restoration and re-release of Elem Klimov‘s underappreciated war epic “Come and See” (1985), Be Reel steels itself this week to revisit a film famous for its brutal portrayal of the Nazi invasion of modern-day Belarus.
For the uninitiated, the Russian film stars Aleksei Kravchenko as Flyora, a boy who joins up with local partisans at the height of World War II. While his experience begins as a twisted fantasy—with his companion Glasha mapping out what love means during wartime—“Come and See” quickly devolves into a nightmare, equal parts chaotic and fastidious.
As for the restoration by Janus Films, it plays Feb. 21 through March 3 at Film Forum in New York City and appears all but destined for a forthcoming Criterion Collection release, at least judging by this tweet and the on-brand new artwork. Klimov’s final film is beautifully shot in any form, but the 2K restoration by Janus lends texture to landscapes and characters that only cuts deeper when beauty turns to ruin.
Of course, the emotional cost to the viewer is only heightened by the new vividness. This episode of Be Reel, just like “Come and See,” is not for the faint of heart. Listen as we dive back into the film’s production history, myth, re-canonization, and assess the lines between majesty and gratuity.
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