Andrei Tarkovsky


The Heart – From ‘Stalker’ by Andrei Tarkovsky

Over at The Film Talk, my co-host Jett Loe and I are very excited at the prospect of watching the films of Andrei Tarkovsky; the Russian director whose work represents a rare fusion of art and spirituality:

Jett: ‘If there were one film to take to a desert island and the only one I could see for the rest of my life, it would be ‘Andrei Rublev’.  It’s an astonishing, engrossing film that feels like it was shot in the time it was set.  In the 14th century.’

Gareth: ‘I probably haven’t had a more transcendent experience with a film than when I saw ‘Solaris”

Next month, our friends at Film Society of Lincoln Center in NYC will present a week of cinematic mysticism with a complete retrospective of Tarkovsky’s feature films.  We’re going to record a podcast about Tarkovsky in a couple of weeks – and look forward to the extraordinary delight of watching all of his movies before recording.

We’ll save the discussion of the meaning of his films for later; though their power probably can’t be overstated, so I’ll allow myself one comment: Andrei Tarkovsky’s films leave me feeling as if cinema really does matter, make me excited to be alive, and remind me of the privilege of being human.  I feel more alive just thinking about them.

If you’re in the area we can’t encourage you enough to visit FilmLinc.  And if not, while DVD will be a poor substitute for the enveloping experience of watching this most spiritually expansive director’s works in a cinema, I’d still visit the Mummy in Belfast’s Ulster Museum even if I couldn’t get to the pyramids.*

*Full disclosure: Much as I wish we had the budget to house me in New York for a week so I could sit at the Walter Reade Theater in the presence of Andrei Tarkovsky’s films, only one of which I’ve actually seen in a cinema.  Alas The Film Talk ran on a shoestring even before the economic crisis…  So if you can’t be in NYC for the season, don’t feel lonely – we’re in solidarity with you, watching at home.  Actually, it occurs to me that, given how Tarkovsky’s films are as much about the interior journey of the individual human as they are about the macro-spiritual nature of the universe, ultimately each of them needs to be seen twice – once on the biggest screen you can find (try the Max Linder Kinopanorama in Paris if you’re ever there), and once alone in your cave.  Doesn’t particularly matter which order you do it in.  We’re always living on at least two levels at the same time.  Or space.  Or the space between spaces.


5 responses to “Andrei Tarkovsky

  1. My word, that still is gorgeous. I’ve never seen one of his films, but I will now.

  2. Kim Mitchell

    Same here

  3. Great article. Truly the greatest filmmaker to grace the art.

  4. No other art that I know of besides Bach can make a person feel such peace. I finish one of his major films (for the 100th time) and an hour later I’ll still be in that sort of meditative, peaceful state where I am somehow more aware and more fully in the moment.

    They are unique for being films that improve with repeated viewings. It’s very difficult to say which is his best though I understand why many point to Rublev.

    I’ve seen everything he’s done except I’ve only seen the first 20 minutes of Boris Godunov (the play he directed) every documentary made on him, read Sculpting in Time (multiple times), read every diary entry I could find in English, and watched the films of every director he recognized on record. I’ve seen his student films, The Steamroller and the Violin, and The Killers, and I’ve seen Voyage in Time.

    Am I missing anything possibly?

  5. Tarkovsky has influenced me thoroughly. Watching his films was the first time i considered that, besides dreams, that this waking-state itself is actually self-generated. I experience his work in awe.