Saturday, October 22, 2022

'Come and See' - Belarus WW2 movie by Elem Klimov, 1985

This horrific and infamous scene, from the harrowing movie Come and See by Russian filmmaker Elem Klimov (Wikipedia here) will have echoes for those in Ireland who know the full story of the 1798 Rebellion here - of the burning of the McKee family in their home at Carrickcessna near Saintfield, and of the burning of around 200 people in Scullabogue barn in Wexford (see previous post here). Klimov had personal experience of World War Two, and Belarus is said to have had over 2 million deaths during the war, over 25% of its population. At the end of the movie a caption says that during the war “628 Belorussian villages were burnt to the ground with all their inhabitants.” Utter barbarity. 

I can't say I would recommend Come and See as an experience, but it a remarkable and utterly horrifying movie, acclaimed as a 'masterpiece' since its release in 1985. It was remastered and rereleased in 2020. Here is a review on YouTube. Its hand-held steadicam camerawork gives it a revolting nauseating realism. 'Soldiers' drunk on whisky, power, and hate. Be very careful of viewing it.

Whatever the era, whatever the ideology, whatever the circumstances, the human heart never changes. As Scottish author and poet Robert Louis Stevenson knew, every one of us is both Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

"And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see." - Revelation 6:7-8