Monday, October 7, 2013

Andrei Tarkovsky is one of the most, if not the most noted Russian film maker.  He is the son of noted poet Arseniy Tarkovsky.  He studied music and Arabic in Moscow before enrolling in the Soviet film school VGIK. He gained international attention after creating his first feature film, Ivan's Childhood (1962), which won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival. This resulted in his second film Andrei Rublyov (1969), which was banned by the Soviet authorities until 1971. It was shown at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival at four o'clock in the morning on the last day, in order to prevent it from winning a prize, yet it still managed to win one anyway, and it was eventually distributed abroad to help enable the authorities to save face. Solaris (1972), didn't face as much opposition, and was acclaimed by many throughout Europe and North America as the Soviet answer to Kubrick's '2001', but he ran into official trouble again with The Mirror(1975), a dense, personal web of autobiographical memories with a radically innovative plot structure. Stalker (1979) had to be completely reshot on a significantly reduced budget after an accident in the laboratory destroyed the first version, and the final shooting was dramatically different than the original shoot. After Nostalgia (1983), shot in Italy, Tarkovsky defected to Europe. His last film, The Sacrifice (1986) was shot in Sweden with many of Ingmar Burgman's regular collaborators, and won an almost unprecedented four prizes at the Cannes Film Festival. He died of cancer at the end of the year (although many people think he was actually murdered by the KGB). 

This is a little excerpt from his biography that I thought really captured what he was about! 

"Andrei Tarkovsky was the most spiritual and poetic director of all time. For him cinematography was not entertainment, it was art in the best meaning of this word. He was one of the most educated directors – he studied music and painting, he was born into the family of a poet. Being a versatile artist he was able to create a synthesis of arts in his films. Film for him was not just a reflection of reality; it was more like a poem or a dream.
When film is not a document, it is a dream. That is why Tarkovsky is the greatest of them all. He moves with such naturalness in the room of dreams. He doesn't explain. What should be explained anyhow? He is a spectator, capable of staging his visions in the most unwieldy but, in a way, the most willing of media.
Ingmar Bergman

For him films were much more than a synthesis of arts. As he wrote himself, he wanted to sculpt time and to reach into the inner truth of our existence.

"For me film - is a way to reach the truth and I am trying to do it to the fullest extent of what I am capable of. I am profoundly convinced that the process of creating a film does not end after it was finally made ready for the movie theatre. The act of creation takes place in the auditorium at the time of watching the film. Therefore, the viewer for me is neither my consumer, or a judge, but a co-creator, co-author.""

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