I Caught it that time. Thanks for explaining to me Jonathan. I actually did watch part of it today the part where they go back across the river and get to bodies for burial. I saw the part you mentioned with the snow and they hoping it would rain to wash away his footprints. I usually try to avoid any movies with subtitles but I'm glad you recommended this one and I thoroughly enjoyed it.Okay, let's explore this. With the exception of the four "dream" sequences, the visionary flash-back of the partisans waiting for their execution and the flash-forward to the end of the war in the climax, the film takes place over the course of about twenty-four hours that are bracketed by Ivan crossing the river... from the German to the Russian side and then back again. The film itself begins and ends with a "dream" sequence, the other two occur when Ivan falls asleep after his first crossing and immediately before he wakes up to make the second one, in both transitions there is water dripping eerily. Each of the sequences includes some life-sustaining examples of water... in the buckets and the well as drink, the rains for crops and the waters of the beach for leisure, but each of the sequences also contains foreboding elements and musical cues with abrupt transitions into the harsh reality of the war (this holds true for the final sequence as I hinted at in my previous post).
While water is undoubtedly the most prominent symbol deployed in the film, there are other recurring features such as the dead tree from which the two Russian scouts have been hanged as a warning... important is its presence in the final "dream" sequence, intruding on the children's play. The final frame of the movie is the abrupt cut to black as Ivan runs with reckless abandon and unexpectedly slams into it. There are other things repeated in the film such as the record playing the song lyric in which Masha is told not to go beyond the river. This is the name, not coincidentally, of the lady army doctor who is sent away from the front line and complies with the order... Ivan is also ordered away to the safety of military school, but he refuses --- the boy instead crosses the river to the German side. Three times the "writing on the wall" is shown, etchings of the partisans shortly before their execution crying out for their deaths to be avenged. Ivan, we are told through conversation among the army officers, had joined the partisans after his mother and sister (the girl in the third and fourth "dream" sequences) were killed by the Germans. The boy, having a visionary encounter with the partisans, takes up their cause and that of his murdered family, acting out his "play" fantasies with the knife he has been loaned for the night.
After Ivan departs from the two officers who have accompanied him across to the German side of the river, one of them remarks that he wished it was raining so the boy's footprints in the clay would be obscured... instead it begins only to lightly snow, signaling both the beginning of winter and the likelihood Ivan will be tracked by the Nazis who are patrolling the swamp area. The coming of winter, falling asleep and crossing rivers are all ancient metaphors for death... and if you still have access to the online rental, I would recommend watching the flash-forward to the end of the war as it explicitly but briefly reveals Ivan's fate after he crosses back to the German side of the river. I wasn't sure, on reading your earlier comments about Ivan "going forward with his life after the war", whether you caught the significance of the dossier the Russian officer picks up in the ruins of Berlin...