Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986)

Visionary Russian film maker. His films are full of haunting poetic images that are impossible to forget. The greatest Russian auteur since Sergei M. Eisenstein.


The first six of these films were made in Russia starting with his graduation piece from the Soviet State Film School. His first feature film was Ivan's Childhood which won international acclaim. This caused some difficulties for Tarkovsky in the Soviet Union and Andrei Rublyov was shown at Cannes out of competition in the middle of the night. Despite this it won an award. Here the powerful religious themes in Tarkovsky's work were plain for all to see, not cloaked as they were in Ivan's Childhood, which on the surface could be interpreted as a Soviet realist piece. After this Tarkovsky had to deal with a great deal of criticism at home and the showing of his films in the West was often delayed for many years by the Soviet Authorities. On their release in the West they were invariably acclaimed.

Nostalgia was made in Italy with the approval of the Soviet Authorities. The Sacrifice was made in Sweden after Tarkovsky had finally left the Soviet Union frustrated by years of supression and struggle. He died in Paris of cancer diagnosed during the shooting of The Sacrifice.

Tarkovsky wrote a fascinating book about his motivations and techniques in film called Sculpting in Time. He says:

The image is indivisible and elusive, dependent upon our consciousness and on the real world which it seeks to embody. If the world is inscrutable, then the image will be so too. It is a kind of equation, signifying the correlation between truth and the human consciousness, bound as the latter is by Euclidean space. We cannot comprehend the totality of the universe, but the poetic image is able to express that totality.

I'll probably node some of these films over time but feel free to jump in and node one yourself...

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