Ivan’s Childhood

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“Unmissable! Its pure audacity and visual beauty are electrifying … boasts one of the greatest opening dream sequences in movie history.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

The debut feature by Andrei Tarkovsky, Ivan’s Childhood, is a poetic journey through the shards and shadows of one boy’s war-ravaged youth. Moving back and forth between the traumatic realities of World War II and serene moments of family life before the conflict began, the film follows a vengeful 12-year-old partisan named Ivan who undertakes a suicide mission as a spy behind German lines. Announcing many of the themes, aesthetic strategies and visual motifs that would come to define his later work, Tarkovsky’s film remains one of the most jarring and unforgettable depictions of the impact of war on children. (Dir. by Andrei Tarkovsky, 1962, Soviet Union, in Russian and German with English subtitles, 100 mins., Not Rated)