The first part of Bill Douglas’s influential, autobiographical trilogy looks back to when he was a young boy in a small Scottish mining town, living on the breadline and finding an escape only in cinema…
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Joined Mubi a couple months ago and this was the first thing that completely blew me away. Never heard of Bill Douglas before, but he was a master. I now understand that he was very influential to other filmmakers and after watching 'My Childhood' I wondered whether the ominous plane in 'Come & See' was an homage. Two scenes I loved involved steam from a train passing under a bridge. Dreary yes, but spellbinding.
"...Sav moj detinjski svet srušio se i, razbijen u komade, ležao kod mojih nogu. Stajao sam nad njim nemoćan, ne razumevajući ništa i znajući samo jedno: da patim. Stajao sam i nisam znao gde da se denem pod ovim nebom..." (Ivo Andric, Deca)
Self-pity of imagistic memory grows into anger then further into a desolate purity; yet Bill Douglas' stylistic decisions never seem to become muddied by personal or traumatic sensationalism--always attuned to a symbolic dreamscape of spirit-numbing poverty, where most are famished and everyone's grasp for hope is thwarted as if by natural law. It's first episode in a unique trilogy of remembrance and purgation.
This film is unbearably bleak at times, yet so achingly beautiful. There is much plot, but rather impressionistic snippets of a childhood scarred by war, poverty, and death. You can feel the coal and soot, so atmospheric Douglas' direction is. I can't undervalue the strength of his images enough. Also Douglas' minimalism doesn't feel forced, but rather natural which is why this film works so well. Stark but amazing.
A faultless collection of stills, and a (potentially) rich story, yet somehow the whole thing came across as soulless and contrived. The starkness and terseness seemed formulaic and hollow. An over-reliance on aesthetics at the expense of any real depth. 2.5
Harrowing in its realism of the ravages of war, on those who are handed such unbearable. It is one of the rare films that made me grasp the effect of devastating poverty on the most vulnerable, children and elderly. The piercing power of the work, in that the director didn't wallow in the melodramatic to create such unforgettable film. The film recalls Bresson's "Mouchette", and Tarkovsky's "Ivan's Childhood".