Come And See

Come and See is a 1985 Soviet film about the Barbarossa campaign’s effects on the villages of Belorussia.  While everyone is familiar with the Holocaust, the extent to which operation Barbarossa was a racial extermination, a genocide against the “lesser peoples” of Russia, is significant and deserves knowing about.

The film chronicles a boy’s life during the war, beginning with searching for a gun buried at an old battle sight so that he would be allowed to join the army, and following him through various unbelievable disasters of humanity – which he, and sometimes no one else, survives.

What might be called the climax of the film consists of Nazis rounding up an entire village into a barn, then proceeding to burn the barn with the inabitents inside. Two people are allowed to escape and witness the violence, and in the end the boy survives because laying on the ground he is presumed dead. According to the film, 628 villages in Belorussia suffered a similar fate.

The film is watchable on youtube in 15 parts (there is a playlist which will automatically switch you from one part to the next).  Please note, the film is not in an American style – what this means is it is much closer to “Horror” in tone, although not specifically gore, than a conventional American war movie, i.e. Saving Private Ryan, or The Thin Red Line. The poster on youtube loudly instructs the film is “NOT FOR CHILDREN”, and this warning should probably be heeded.

This reservation aside, I highly recommend “Come and See”.


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