Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Andrei Tarkovsky's Ivan has been sanctioned by the British and American governments

The later careers of child stars can be an interesting, even tragic, study. Outcomes can vary from being a distinguished art historian (Jon Whiteley) to drug addiction and anonymous burial in a pauper's grave at 30 (Bobby Driscoll).

I've found a new disappointing outcome for a former child star: being sanctioned by the UK and US governments.

Andrei Tarkovsky's Ivan's Childhood would be a good nomination for the best first film by any director. It tells the story of a young orphan who acts a scout for the Soviet army on the Eastern Front in the second world war. He fights off attempts to send him to military school until he undertakes one mission too many and does not return.

Ivan was played, to universal acclaim, by Nikolai 'Kolya' Burlyayev, who has been acting and directing in Russia ever since. He has become increasingly associated with Vladimir Putin and was elected to the Russian parliament in 2021.

The result is that you will find his name on both the UK and US lists of people who have been sanctioned over their support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

If you watch the video above you will just see the opening scenes and then the titles - that very Sixties idea made it to Russia.

Go to YouTube and you will see the whole film - and a wonderful film it is. It is beautifully photographed and has all of Tarkovsky's symbolism and dream logic, but you also get a proper story about the war.

h/t Thomas Stern on Twitter.

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