The background of Andrei Tarkowski's first feature film is the Second World War, with the 12-year-old boy Iwan at the centre. As part of the official programme of films, it is still astonishing today how the Russian managed to shoot a film that stood across the system and showed the war from the perspective of a boy. Iwan seems totally hardened after losing his family and escaping a camp, he sees little prospects and quite simply wants to avenge the death of his loved ones. Tarkowski shows his masterly skills in cinematography in this early oeuvre. Using simple means, he tells the story in incredibly strong black-and-white tableaux.
«The first Tarkovski in its purest form. All the horror of war mirrored within the soul of a child.»― Fernando Pérez
«I went to the cinema with my father to see this film. I was 15 and at that moment I was far away from being a filmmaker. But Tarkowsky made me discover that films were much more than I had seen so far. It's a must-see movie.»― Paula Hernandez