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Ok, now we exit genre films and enter the heavy stuff.
It is 1943, during the Nazi occupation of Belarus. Teenaged Floria and his friend are digging for rifles among buried corpses of soldiers. If they find one, they can join the partisans and fight against the occupying Nazis. Floria finds a gun, his face beams with excitement because now he can join. What follows is a series of intense, terrifying, and incredible set pieces. This has been called the greatest war movie ever made. It may be. It is definitely the most disturbing.
There are some works of art that are so harrowing you can only experience them once. You can appreciate the work as art. On the first try it might have changed your life. Even so, you do not want to experience that work again. A good example would be Lou Reed’s “Berlin,” any of Scott Walker’s last few albums, or N*Sync’s “No Strings Attached.” I listened to them one time. Sure, they blew my mind, but I don’t want to enter that darkness again. Same with that time I dated a sorority girl. Sure, it was worth doing once, but would I really want to go through that again? “Come and See” is a lot like dating a sorority girl or listening to N*Sync. Only with more violence and Nazis.
Some works of art should not be experienced while on a date. Sometimes, if you have serious skill, you can rise above it briefly, maybe get some heavy petting, but you can be sure it will only end in confusion and self-loathing. In high school, I took a date (not the sorority girl) to “Saving Private Ryan.” It wasn’t so much the violence that put the brakes on my amorous intentions as much as that I cried during that part where Old Matt Damon talks to the graves. If you take your date to “Come and See” you will not end up having sex.
Some works of art are inappropriate for a party atmosphere. They will just confuse and terrify your guests. For example, no one has a good time with a print of “Figure with Meat” by Francis Bacon looming over the keg.* Unless it is a goth party.
No one will want to be your friend anymore if you play “Come and See” at your next wine and cheese event. Unless it’s that kind of party.
The most disturbing part of the film:
*Russian Fun Fact: Oligarch Roman Abramovich purchased Francis Bacon’s “Tryptich 1976” for $86 Million, the highest price ever paid for a post-war painting. He is probably the type of guy to play “Come and See” on repeat on his flatscreen during a little get together at his palatial estate.
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