Ivan’s Childhood (Ива́ново де́тство, Ivanovo detstvo) by Andrei Tarkovsky (1962) (Soviet Union)







How simple those six words are alone. But putting them one after the other, in a chain, it becomes a sequence. It becomes something that happened. It becomes reality. It became Ivan’s Childhood. Born into the world at an unfortunate period, Ivan Bondarev lost his family and everything he ever cared for. With his mind made up and his unsettling seething of being treated as a child, although he is one, Ivan vowed for revenge. With the help of Lieutenant-Colonel Gryanov, Captain Kholin, Ivan is giving missions and succeeds in them because of his small stature as a child.

The film is Andrei Tarkovsky’s first feature-length film and with Ivan’s Childhood, he became famous internationally despite being a Soviet film. The black-and-white of the film made the film more impactful and serious.

Ivan, who was found by Lieutenant-Colonel Gryanov, after he ran away

This movie has struck me harshly and made me think a lot. Ivan was only twelve years old and yet he was already going out on the front lines. Yes, he may have wanted vengeance for his dead family but the adults thought nothing about it. At the end of the film, out of the four recurring characters, we only see Lieutenant Galtsev. With Ivan and Captain Kholin dead, we don’t know what happened to the other characters. But what did Lieutenant Galtsev think of the entire matter? Furthermore, with the constant appearance of trees and the dead tree that appeared at the end of the film, it made me think of the lyrics of the song ‘The Hanging Tree’ from the Hunger Games.

https://i1.wp.com/www.garconacteur.com/photo/ivanchildhood/Burljajew_Kolja-Ivans_Childhood_017.jpg  https://i2.wp.com/www.offscreen.com/images/Ivan_beachtree.jpg
Trees in the Swamp Area (Left) and Ivan at the beach with the dead tree (Right)

Influenced by both the song and Lieutenant Galtsev’s survival, I created the following poem.

After the Aftermath

A moment of silence
Does not equate sadness
Does not mean happiness
It’s simply a silence

A loss to me
Might not mean death
A death to you
Might not mean loss

Twelve words per stanza
Four words per line
Why twelve and four
You may never know

Is revenge so important
He who wants it
Against them who don’t
They died, I lived

About the Author:
Edna is an avid reader who spends her free time looking for new snacks to eat.


  1. The Hunger Games Wiki. n.d.. Songs. [online] Available at: http://thehungergames.wikia.com/wiki/The_Hanging_Tree#.22The_Hanging_Tree.22 [Accessed: 23 Jun 2013].

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