November 02, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST
We gave it an A

In Elem Klimov’s searing WWII film, a young Byelorussian boy leaves home to join the Nazi-fighting partisans. The indelible images begin with his mother’s misery writ large on her face, and continue through brutal atrocities — villages raided, people perishing in a blazing barn, the inevitable piles of victims. Klimov alternates the horrors of war with occasional fairy tale-like images; together they imbue the film with an unapologetically disturbing quality that persists long after the credits roll.

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