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The Harvard Film Archive’s Tarkovsky series continues tonight with his breakout film IVAN’S CHILDHOOD.  The WWII era film is about a young orphan boy who is sent through enemy lines to collect information from the Germans. Due to his small size and his unsuspecting nature, he is able to get to places others can’t. Dreams of his violent past trouble him throughout the film, which helps to give a more earnest perspective of the war than what was available from other Soviet filmmakers at the time.

The film had a major impact upon its release, scooping up the Golden Lion award at the Venice film festival. It is remarkable to think that this year in which Tarkovsky gained international recognition also saw the release of Fellin’s 8 ½, Louise Malle heating up his career with THE FIRE WITHIN, Kubrick’s LOLITA, Polanski’s debut KNIFE IN THE WATER and Ingmar Bergman continuing his education of Woody Allen in THE SILENCE. Bergman certainly put the influence of IVAN’s CHILDHOOD best:

My discovery of Tarkovsky’s first film was like a miracle. Suddenly, I found myself standing at the door of a room the keys of which had, until then, never been given to me. It was a room I had always wanted to enter and where he was moving freely and fully at ease. I felt encouraged and stimulated: someone was expressing what I had always wanted to say without knowing how. Tarkovsky is for me the greatest, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream.

So if Bergman’s words don’t convince you to go check this out, I don’t know what will. There is only one screening of IVAN’S CHILDHOOD so don’t miss it.

Harvard Film Archive

84 min
1/18 9:30 pm
$9 general admission // $7 students (Free for all Harvard Students)

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