Ivan's Childhood

PFA Collection Print

(Ivanovo detstvo). “A poetically directed antiwar film that also shows the beauty of the landscape” (SFIFF 1962), Tarkovsky's first feature won grand prizes at film festivals around the world. Ivan is twelve years old, but his childhood exists only in his head; in reality, it is cut short by the Second World War. After his family is destroyed, he becomes an ace army scout. The boy is adopted by two officers with whom he finds companionship and some warmth between assignments, but his main solace lies in his dream-memory world, through which he returns to a time of innocent abandon. Tarkovsky moves from terrifying realism to lyrical impressionism, revealing his mastery at incorporating surrealist elements into his filmic universe.

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