Sight and Sound - 11/01/2002
"...Brilliant....What's striking is the way Tarkovsky combines the lyricism of MIRROR with a straightforward account of the nightmarish experiences of Soviet soldiers on the German front..."
Visionary Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky's first film, MY NAME IS IVAN, is a powerhouse of visual and emotional impact and a portend of many themes Tarkovsky would develop throughout his legendary career. Ivan (Nikolai Burlyayev) is a 12-year-old boy roaming the destroyed landscapes of World War II Russia along the German front. Between Ivan's ecstatic dreams of his missing family and his mud-and-blood-encrusted reality, the viewer learns that Ivan's father, mother, and sister were killed by Germans and that since then he has gone into service as an intelligence scout for the Russian army.
Ivan's shocking bloodthirsty hunger for revenge is juxtaposed with the innocence and earthbound lyricism of his dreams and memories, creating a portrait of a stolen childhood and a bleak future. Protected and loved by his makeshift family of stoic army officers, Ivan resists being taken out of the army and forces his way back into another scouting mission, putting himself directly in the line of fire. Tarkovsky underscores this wartime drama with a compelling poetic vision through the use of evocative black-and-white cinematography as well as stunning sound and production design. Each element plays a significant part in this brilliant film, based on Vladimir Bogomolov's novel IVAN.
This first feature film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky established him as a leader in Russian cinema. The poetic film follows the poignant tale of Ivan, a 12-year-old boy who becomes consumed with vengeance after his family is killed by Germans during World War II.
Theatrical Release |
World War II
The film won 3 Golden Lion awards at the 1962 Venice Film Festival: Best Actor, Best Picture and Best Director.
"My Name Is Ivan" was director Andrei Tarkovsky's first feature film.
"The New York Times" and "Variety" listed the American distributor as "Sig Shore."
At least two different versions of the film exist. One is 84 minutes long, the other is 97.
Film was part of a cultural exchange program between the US and the USSR.