397 Ivan's Childhood

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#101 Post by matrixschmatrix » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:24 pm

It almost seems wrong to refer to it as a war film, in the same way it seems wrong to refer to Solaris as a science fiction film- it's vast, and contains multitudes. Certainly a huge part of the emotional thrust of Ivan's Childhood is the feelings of grief and loss for what the war has destroyed, but it feels at least as much as much a sort of dreamscape of a world only half made, with the thin trees seemingly stretching on into infinity, with goals that can't be understood and destinations that can't be reached.

If you told me it was an avant-garde film with a war theme, I'd believe that as readily as I'd believe that it's a narrative film that can be understood as telling a specific story about a specific time and place.

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#102 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:36 pm

I like calling it a War Film just because it's so against what that term typically refers to. A pleasant shock. One that throws the film into even greater relief.

On the other hand, calling Solaris a Sci-Fi film seems kinda, well, usual. That's a term that's always been associated with probing ideas, and philosophy, and vastness. Doesn't give quite the same shock as when you point out that Ivan's Childhood is a war film.

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#103 Post by matrixschmatrix » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:41 pm

I don't think either is incorrect, it's just that tying either down to a particular genre- even as an example of the breadth of either genre- seems to pin an overly concrete way of seeing on to the films.

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#104 Post by knives » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:46 pm

How? Films can be multiple genres so it's not like saying that since Solaris is a sci-fi film (and certainly it is textbook sci-fi moreso than say Stalker or even a film not argued against like Alphaville) it can't be some other genre also. Genre is just basic taxonomy, not something restrictive.

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#105 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:01 pm

Look, I just like how startling it is to lable Ivan's Childhood a War Film. Even matrix has felt it, being suddenly compelled by two words to take a kind of stand.

I think the term reveals things about the movie rather than restricts it--if only for the way that calling it a War Film brings to mind not just all the ways that it is, but all the ways it isn't--or at least, all the ways it isn't like what we think of a War Film as being.

It's totally a war film, tho'.

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#106 Post by matrixschmatrix » Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:08 pm

Again, I'm not saying it's wrong to list them as being part of those genres, but it's a bit like referring to Slaughterhouse Five as a science fiction book- that's true, but to me it feels as though it's giving the work an implied form that doesn't fit the way the work lives in my head. Giving the Tarkovskys a generic label implies a narrative-based read of them, and for me (for Ivan's Childhood much more than for Solaris) the narrative isn't necessarily what shape the movie takes.

I'm not trying to argue that war and science fiction films can't be transcendental or whatever, and I'd happily vote for both in a genre project, but if being in a genre can have enough implications carried with it for the term 'genre film' to have any meaning than in that sense of the term Tarkovsky's movies absolutely do not fit. This is also an argument that has as much to do with what the inside of my head looks like as anything even remotely objective, so it's possibly kind of a pointless rabbit hole to fall down.

Sausage, have you seen I Was Nineteen? It comes to mind as a war film that comes even remotely close to operating the way that Ivan does.

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#107 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:21 pm

I get where you're coming from, but I'm not sure you see where I'm coming from.

Beware of wanting your peculiar favourites to be too singular, tho'. Sometimes it's useful to think of weird films as also being part of a genre. That said, if genres can change how you look at an individual film, individual films can change how you look at a genre.

I've never seen I Was Nineteen.

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#108 Post by warren oates » Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:29 am

Mr Sausage wrote:If genres can change how you look at an individual film, individual films can change how you look at a genre.
Nicely put. A more elegant spin on some of what I was struggling to say to matrix about genre months ago in the La Jetee thread. Puts me in mind of Benjamin's quote: "All great works either define a genre or end one." Seems like it would be even more useful and true if he'd also added "redefine."

I suppose my favorite remarkable not yet mentioned today thing about Ivan's Childhood is that it's one of the very greatest films ever taken over by a second director. We're talking way beyond an unexpectedly good save of something like Frankenheimer's The Train after Arthur Penn got fired. Everybody thinks of Ivan's Childhood now as a quintessential Tarkovsky film. But it started out as Eduard Abalov's routine failure (and the only reason anybody remembers his name today!). Anyway, I can't wait to see this in HD.

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#109 Post by triodelover » Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:26 am


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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#110 Post by manicsounds » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:59 am


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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#111 Post by Koukol » Wed Nov 19, 2014 7:14 pm

Does anyone know if this BD is OOP?

I have it on back-order at Barnes and would hate to waste precious time if they can't get it.

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#112 Post by Feiereisel » Wed Nov 19, 2014 7:43 pm

Koukol wrote:Does anyone know if this BD is OOP?

I have it on back-order at Barnes and would hate to waste precious time if they can't get it.
It's listed as available on Criterion's website and "Out" (i.e. released, in-print) on MMM. BN is probably restocking it. If you need it directly, look to Amazon or other online vendors.

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#113 Post by Koukol » Wed Nov 19, 2014 7:56 pm

Feiereisel wrote:
Koukol wrote:Does anyone know if this BD is OOP?

I have it on back-order at Barnes and would hate to waste precious time if they can't get it.
It's listed as available on Criterion's website and "Out" (i.e. released, in-print) on MMM. BN is probably restocking it. If you need it directly, look to Amazon or other online vendors.
Thanks for the reply.

Is MMM a reliable source for OOP titles?

It's a Christmas gift I ordered from B&N for a great price.
But if it's OOP I could end up waiting forever for something that will not come while those that do have one in stock sells out.

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#114 Post by zedz » Thu Nov 20, 2014 6:55 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:Look, I just like how startling it is to lable Ivan's Childhood a War Film.
I'm afraid I don't get this at all. It's totally a war film, and totally within the genre as established in Soviet cinema of the era (where war movies were a much bigger, and arguably more diverse, part of the landscape than they were in the US). It's probably even more combat / battlefield focussed than Ballad of a Soldier or The Cranes Are Flying, which were also firmly within the war genre and celebrated as such.

Tarkovsky was Tarkovsky, and was always going to add value to whatever he was doing, but it seems de trop to pretend that he was so radically inventive that he was obliterating genre definitions in those early films (and quite unfair to all the other fine Soviet directors of the era who also were doing interesting, and often far more generically transgressive, work at the time). He started off in socialist realism, moved onto a war film, then historical drama (portrait of Soviet-approved artist subgenre), and then science fiction. It's only with Mirror that he started to move into more individual and less codified realms, and the only reason he got to make those early films in the first place is because they were safely within approved genre bounds.

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#115 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:27 pm

zedz wrote:
Mr Sausage wrote:Look, I just like how startling it is to lable Ivan's Childhood a War Film.
I'm afraid I don't get this at all. It's totally a war film, and totally within the genre as established in Soviet cinema of the era (where war movies were a much bigger, and arguably more diverse, part of the landscape than they were in the US). It's probably even more combat / battlefield focussed than Ballad of a Soldier or The Cranes Are Flying, which were also firmly within the war genre and celebrated as such.

Tarkovsky was Tarkovsky, and was always going to add value to whatever he was doing, but it seems de trop to pretend that he was so radically inventive that he was obliterating genre definitions in those early films (and quite unfair to all the other fine Soviet directors of the era who also were doing interesting, and often far more generically transgressive, work at the time). He started off in socialist realism, moved onto a war film, then historical drama (portrait of Soviet-approved artist subgenre), and then science fiction. It's only with Mirror that he started to move into more individual and less codified realms, and the only reason he got to make those early films in the first place is because they were safely within approved genre bounds.
Coincidentally I just reread this thread and my comments yesterday, and I have no idea what I was thinking. It is unarguably a war film. And while it is often singular in its style, its themes are standard for this genre. So...ignore everything I've said?

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#116 Post by Trees » Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:45 pm

It is most certainly a war film, in the same way that "The Thin Red Line" is. The best war films are anti-war films, in my opinion.

"Ivan's Childhood" is an extremely auspicious start for a director, especially given the time period and country in which it was made. It's no surprise that intellectuals and filmmakers from Europe rushed to embrace the film. Simple, pure cinema, with a healthy taste of the genius that was to later flourish and manifest in Tarkovsky.

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#117 Post by AK » Thu Mar 17, 2016 3:41 am

In anticipation of the upcoming Blu-rays for Tarkovsky's films, I was in the mood to dust off the only one I already have in HD. It's been years, probably sixteen, since I last saw Ivan's Childhood, and after that I've seen pretty much every other Tarkovsky multiple times. I've had the Criterion Blu for quite a few years already, but never got around to watching it until now.

After this viewing I really don't see how my apparent neglect was in any way warranted. As is usually pointed out, this is such a ridiculously strong debut, and while it has been also pointed out how this film has perhaps more to do with the Soviet films of the era than the Tarkovsky of later years, I wouldn't in any way count it as a negative assessment: this is obviously Tarkovsky through and through, yet still with a distinct difference that makes it even more special in my eyes. I know this is terribly reductive, but for argument's sake I'll go along with it: it's like with Ivan Tarkovsky wanted to show that he can make them movies like any other director, then going his decidedly personal path of film-making. What the film shows is that Tarkovsky was in command of his craft from the beginning. What an artist he was, and what art his films still are!

There are so many bold choices made that in lesser hands would have come off as farcical even, but Tarkovsky throws them at me as if it's all easy. These I love the most: the remarkable cut from the first dream sequence as the sounds of the real world penetrate the dream as the camera tilts and Ivan's mother looks into the distance in horror; the amazing confrontation with Masha in the woods, and that kiss and the way the camera moves there, finding its angle (Masha suspended in the air); the sudden and completely unexpected cut toward the end that resembles that of the first dream sequence ending in its violent immediacy, and all in all the wonderful ending. Especially the ending could well have fallen flat and terribly so, but it works, just works so wonderfully.

Now that Criterion UK is coming, I wonder whether it is possible for Sony to go head to head with Artificial Eye/Curzon with this one. Both have Blu-rays lined up for this in April and May. Is it possible they're using a different restoration, or what might be behind all this? Can't see how this could be another Rocco and His Brothers type of situation.

Edit: Who on earth is Ivan Tarkovsky and what has he got to do with anything?

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#118 Post by Trees » Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:20 pm

One of the things I love most about this film is the humor in the beginning of the film, when a random boy wanders into a military outpost and starts making demands like he's a Colonel. :)

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#119 Post by AK » Fri Mar 18, 2016 7:10 am

Trees wrote:One of the things I love most about this film is the humor in the beginning of the film, when a random boy wanders into a military outpost and starts making demands like he's a Colonel. :)
Those are great scenes, indeed! There's quite a bit of subtle humour in the film, and it serves as kind of counterpoint to the terrible tragedy that's unfolding, it not only reinforces those positive moments but all the same adds weight to the tragic as well. I was expecting a very bleak film from my vague recollections, and while I certainly got one, there was this humorous side to the banter between the people in it I didn't remember at all.

I really like the way Tarkovsky uses humour in the film to bring Ivan and Galtsev together, and also how he's very neatly able to make apparent the feelings the adults have for Ivan but also the how Galtsev and Kholin view each other.

Considering the relatively short runtime of the film, Tarkovsky is, in a very short time, able to introduce characters that feel like flesh and bone, and with a soul and a heart that feels passionately. Two such moments come to mind offhand: one is the moment when Galtsev and Kholin are walking through the trenches and arguing, and the one grabs the other's collar. "War is for men," Galtsev says, and Kholin, looking away, derisively repeating Galtsev's words, aiming them back at him. There's so much going on there that Tarkovsky allows to play in the viewer's mind, while going on about his business as economically as possible. The other moment is the short exchange between Masha and the student friend who's being transported in the truck. At least my heart breaks when I think about it. The earnest longing of the male student friend, a longing not very much unlike a form of delirious optimism in the jaws of death: we're witnessing Ivan's dreams amid the horrors of reality, and it's like that young man's similar story is condensed into that one small moment, Masha being his escape.

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#120 Post by fritz78 » Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:57 am

To everyone who's thinking about double dipping or getting rid of their Criterion in favor of the Artificial Eye disc: don't. It's the exact same master but it has the dreaded Quicktime Pro-res mastering error which changes the gamma of the puicture and makes it brighter. Since Artificial Eye's authoring studio seems to be oblivious to this problem, expect all their Tarkovsky releases to be brighter than they should be -- which is quite a shame.

To see what I mean, check out the screenshot comparison over at caps-a-holic.com: http://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?d1=8488&d2=8489&c=3446" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#121 Post by fritz78 » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:58 am

Sadly, I was right. Artifical Eye is not only using exisiting masters, but are actually screwing them up. Here comes their version of MIRROR, again with the same gamma error as on the IVAN'S CHILDHOOD disc -- I can't believe it...:

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film5/blu-ray_ ... lu-ray.htm

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#122 Post by Drucker » Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:19 pm

The combination if Kino and AE having the rights to most of these films kn the US/UK is...not great.

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#123 Post by Oedipax » Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:40 pm

Since the gamma shift is basically artificially lifting the black levels up a few steps, it should be possible for someone to drop a gamma correction on a rip from the AE discs to move them back down again. You'd probably lose a little quality by going down another generation (and possibly a little detail in the highlights that could have gotten clipped in the first gamma shift), but for the films that were only available in SD previously I'm sure it would still be an improvement.

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#124 Post by fritz78 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 3:36 am

So does Kino have the rights to all remaining Tarkovskys in the US? I really hope they somehow end up with Criterion. The fact that they still aren't out on Blu in the US does instill me with that hope. At least a tiny bit.

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Re: 397 Ivan's Childhood

#125 Post by Drucker » Thu Jul 14, 2016 9:37 am

Yes, Kino still has the rights to Stalker and Mirror, and already have blus of Nostalghia and Sacrifice out. No reason to believe it's changed.

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