Come and See (Elem Klimov, 1985)

The restoration of Come and See (1985), Elem Klimov’s unblinking depiction of Nazi armies wreaking carnage on Soviet Belorussia in 1943, enables us to view this disturbing, mesmerizing epic with fresh eyes as it turns Klimov’s lens into a burning glass. Originally called Kill Hitler, this film ranks with Kon Ichikawa’s Fires on the Plain as a World War II nightmare of humanity pushed beyond its limits. It rivals Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal as an apocalyptic vision of mortal fear and mass sadism flaying every vestige of faith, hope, and charity in a scarred quarter of the world.

The title comes, like Bergman’s, from the Book of Revelation: when the Lamb of God opens the fourth seal of the scroll of revelation, John hears “the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell…