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Why Was the Film “Come and See” Terrifying for the Actors?

Released during the commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the Soviet’s Success, Come and See is an antiwar film that takes place in Belarus during the Nazi Domination in the early 1940s. The movie follows the horror-ridden experiences of a 14-year-old boy named Flyora as he joins the Soviets. 

The production of the Come and See film became an absolute terror for the included actors as they used real bullets during the filming, firing above the actors’ heads. 

A Brief Backstory to Come and See

Come and See is a classic antiwar film that realistically portrays the dehumanizing struggles one has to face during a bloody war. Most distinguished for its intense and terrifying scenes, Come and See remains to be a movie that one never really forgets. 

Adapted from the 1978 novel I Am from the Fiery Village, Elem Klimov and Ales Adamovich told the story of a 14-year-old boy named Flyora when Nazis dominated Belarus in 1943 through the 1985 release of Come and See in honor of the Soviet Victory’s 40th Anniversary. (Source: The New York Times

Changed from the initial title idea of Kill Hitler, the title Come and See is a reference to a quotation from the Bible’s the Book of Revelation Chapter 6, where the bible passage ends with For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?. (Source: Russia Beyond

Played by Aleksey Kravchenko, Flyora excavates a tossed-out gun from a sandy ditch to join the gathering of the Soviet partisans in his local village. Flyora already hears warnings from a local man and pleadings from his mother. The dangerous risk started when he dug up the gun, arousing Nazi suspicion. Eventually, Flyora enlists in the Soviet resistance and faces numerous fatal situations. (Source: Vanity Fair

The movie’s script, made by former partisan fighter Ales Adamovich and Elem Klimov, awaited eight years before its approval. Ales Adamovich states that the experiences of the protagonist Flyora are similar to his as his experiences during the war greatly influenced Come and See. (Source: The New York Times)

The city was ablaze up to the top of the sky. Had I included everything I knew and shown the whole truth, even I could not have watched it.

Ales Adamovich

The Terrors Behind Come and See

The setting of Come and See takes place in Belarus, which suffered the most during World War II as it dealt with the loss of 25% of its whole population. From the death count that exceeded 2,000,000, most were from the deaths of innocent people; this is significant to Come and See as it puts the scenes into perspective, noting that the incidents within the movie became a shared experience for years for the residents of Belarus.

The production of the antiwar movie stays true to its origins. The filming of Come and See utilized real bullets instead of blanks, leading to a genuine expression of fear from the actors when they were nearly shot in the head. Additionally, the scene where a cow dies from a firing machine gun proves to be authentic.

Aleksey Kravchenko, who plays Florya, struggles the most as he was required to conform to strict diets to ensure a starving appearance and also endured ruined hair from his transformation in the movie. Additionally, he underwent autogenic training to avoid insanity as he needed to perform the traumatizing scenes. (Source: Russia Beyond

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