In the book of Revelations (or the Apocalypse of St John), it is stated “and I heard one of the four living creatures saying, as with a voice of thunder, “Come and see!””. Not being a vociferous Bible reader, although I have dabbled, I just thought this was a line from a Johnny Cash song, but after seeing the 1985 Russian war film, Come and See, I had to investigate further the meaning of these words.
Come and See is obviously an invitation which arouses our suspicion. Once when I was a young lad, I was invited to Come and See a cat which had been run over by a car, I took the long way home just to stand on the kerb and examine the carcass from a Gods eye view. Halfthe head had been bashed in and the tongue was sticking out, the fur was all matted.
Just last month, my cousin’s daughter asked me to come and see her new play house which I obliged. Come and See is an invitation which anyone rarely turns down.
So, in my opinion, it is a great title for a film which deals with the brutality that the Russians faced in World War II. There are very few films that I have watched in my life which have affected me, changed my perspective on life, urged me to seek more knowledge. This film, I am ‘pleased’ to say did just that.
I shouldn’t use the word pleased, there is not one happy, funny or amusing moment in this film. We have been invited to watch hell. This film is full of gruesome, horrible and disturbing images. It was interesting to read how the film was made, the director, allegedly used live rounds to scare the cast, there were very few stunt doubles, the actors were not allowed to wash the mud from their clothes and faces at the end of each day and the catering was intentionally so bad that many of the cast did not bother eating.
The final half hour of the film is the most stomach churning, the Nazis invade a Russian village and lock all the children in the church before setting fire to it because “children are the future and have been infected by Communism” and for their own amusement. I did a YouTube search and, quell surprise, someone has uploaded this and the much debated final scene. You can watch it here, although the YouTube version heavily edited and you literally do need to see the whole film.
Unfortunately, it’s not a film you can pick up at Xtravision, if it was, they would have one of those stickers on it telling you the film is in a foreign language.
The finale asks one of the questions which was posed in the film 1995 The Last Supper with Cameron Diaz (Interestingly, her second film, the first being The Mask). In it, they ask, if you could go back in time to a little Austrian village in 1910 would you kill a struggling unknown artist with right wing opinions called Adolf? The finale of Come and See, shows the boy Alex shooting a picture of Hitler. Every shot he fires, the war goes in reverse, then it goes to the first world war and then it goes to pictures of Hitler as a young 20 something, then it goes to Hitler as a teenager, then stops with a baby sitting on his mother’s lap. Alex doesn’t shoot this image.
It gave me something to ponder. It amazes me that some people and film studios would prefer to fund pure evil films like Little Man (16 mins in) rather than Come and See.
On a lighter note, while searching for Come and See on YouTube, I found this clip from Top of the Tops in 1975. Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, Come up and See Me.