Watch Andrei Tarkovsky’s first feature film, ‘Ivan’s Childhood’, in full here
Andrei Tarkovsky, the Russian filmmaker, writer and film theorist, is considered to be one of the most stylistically creative filmmakers of all time.
Famed for his unconventionally long takes, Tarkovsky honed in on what is known as ‘slow cinema’ with his artistically poetic imagery: “All art, of course, is intellectual, but for me, all the arts, and cinema even more so, must above all be emotional and act upon the heart,” Tarkovsky himself once said.
Not short of admirers, Ingmar Bergman went so far as to say that “Tarkovsky for me is the greatest [director], the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of the film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream.”
Tarkovsky, in total, made seven feature films. He directed the first five of his seven feature films in the Soviet Union; his last two films, Nostalghia (1983) and The Sacrifice (1986), were created in Italy and Sweden.
His first feature film, Ivan’s Childhood, is a 1962 Soviet war drama film was co-written alongside Mikhail Papava. Based on Vladimir Bogomolov’s 1957 short story Ivan, the film features child actor Nikolai Burlyayev, Valentin Zubkov, Evgeny Zharikov, Stepan Krylov, Nikolai Grinko, and Tarkovsky’s wife Irma Raush.
The film’s synopsis reads: “When Nazi invaders destroy his Russian village and kill his family, 12-year-old Ivan is placed in a German prison camp. Ivan escapes from the camp and crosses back over to Russia, and comes under the care of Capt. Kholin, who wants to send Ivan to military school. Ivan refuses, requesting that he be allowed to use his powers of stealth to return to Germany to spy on the Nazis and avenge the killing of his family.”