This is my first of Tarkovsky, I knew what to expect but at times was still surprised and impressed. Visually it is spectacular as expected but some of the tracking shots are what surprised me, despite this being his first film over the hour mark, Ivan's childhood already looks like a master at work. If I had any reservations it would be that I wish the plot was slightly more engaging.
Heartbreaking story of a boy whose childhood is destroyed by the Second World War. The mud, swamp, birch forests and bombed-out villages of the front are stunningly photographed and the images, sense of place and of human loss linger long after the film has finished. The final scene is one of the most beautiful moments in cinema history and destroys me every time.
Tarkovsky's least enigmatic film offers a clear narrative, but does not skimp on poetic beauty and even flashes of style amidst often grim WWII landscapes. The narrative is one of innocence lost by child amidst a seemingly apocalyptic war. Ivan's education is on the battlefield which he lusts for against a force of perceived barbarians. No glory is given to the Soviet cause though as the destruction is central.