Vote now for Best of Detroit 2021

Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Come and See

Posted By on Wed, Oct 17, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Elem Klimov’s 1985 film, Come and See, takes place in 1943 Byelorussia when the Nazi troops were engaging in systematic genocide under the guise of rooting out partisans and spies. Its central figure is a peasant boy named Florya (Alexie Kravchenko), who begins as a fresh-faced patriot thrilled to find a rifle on the body of a dead soldier, a weapon that allows him to join the local resistance. His excitement at being a warrior quickly becomes terror after his first exposure to enemy shelling, which leaves him dazed and half-deaf. From there the horrors pile on until we come to a protracted sequence depicting the sadistic destruction of an entire village — one of 628 such events that occurred in Russia during World War II.

This is an old and familiar story as well as an intensely grim one, and you may wonder why you should bother to subject yourself to it, especially if you’re feeling more sensitized than usual to the idea of mass slaughter. Well, maybe you shouldn’t. But Klimov, who seems to have had one great film in him (he made five features before this and has made none since, though he’s still alive) has imbued his film with grit and poetry, through terror and respite, right up to the ending which features a backward-running newsreel leading to the question of how far would you go to destroy evil, how far can you go before you yourself are lost? And being a truly great film, it offers no answer.

Showing exclusively at the Detroit Film Theatre (inside the DIA, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit), Monday at 7:30 p.m. Call 313-833-3237.

Richard C. Walls writes about the arts for Metro Times. E-mail him at


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Richard C. Walls

Most Popular

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 20, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation