Sonntag, 27. Juli 2014

Ivan's childhood / Ivanovo detstvo (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1962)

Young Ivan goes on dangerous missions for the Russians behind the lines of the German Nazi army still having traces of childhood in him.

As all the other Tarkovsky films this one has been discussed to death in a plethora of books, articles and possibly anywhere else. There are plenty of good analysis websites out there: Jean Paul Sartre's comments are here.

As I went through the movie I found a lot of three-layer deep-space compositions inside the 4:3 frame. Tarkovsky and Yusov's imagery consists of a lot of these setups. I collected a couple of them here - although there are way more during the course of the movie.

As Ivan is 'accepted' by his fellow comrades, he drinks from a glass. All their gazes focus on the center of the picture. It seems a classical deep setup in three layers.
Here there is the commander trying to prevent Ivan from going back behind the lines. The composition is more extreme, with the foreground cut off and the space between the kid and the commander much farther.
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The nurse Masha is courted by an officer. The distance between the two is even bigger (we can barely recognize the man behind her). And her gaze is towards the camera, staring into an unknown distance.
This setup is an amazing variation. It includes the same setup, but Ivan is looking out of the picture at the man reflected in a "distant" mirror behind him. This setup brings not only distance, but even a transparent/glass wall between the two.
 The two soldiers desperately await Ivan. They are in the same frame, but don't face each other and stare outside the frame.
Masha comes to bid farewell to the two men. Here too, the distances are enormous (she mostly has her back towards the camera in this scene). It is slightly more conventional, but now the spaces between the characters have grown enormously, and even include a rail as a physical barrier between the characters.

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