Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky
4 April 1932
|Died||29 December 1986 54) (aged|
|Resting place||Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Russian Cemetery|
|Occupation||Film director, screenwriter|
|Spouse(s)|| Irma Raush (1957–70)|
Larisa Kizilova (1970–86)
|Parent(s)||Arseny Tarkovsky (1907–1989)|
Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky (Russian :Андре́й Арсе́ньевич Тарко́вский,IPA: [ɐnˈdrʲej ɐrˈsʲenʲjɪvʲɪtɕ tɐrˈkofskʲɪj] ; 4 April 1932 – 29 December 1986) was a Russian filmmaker, writer, and film theorist. He is widely considered one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema, and one of Russia's most influential filmmakers. His films explored spiritual and metaphysical themes, and are noted for their use of slow long takes and dreamlike visual imagery, as well as their preoccupation with nature and memory.
Russian is an East Slavic language, which is an official language in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.
Film theory is a set of scholarly approaches within the academic discipline of film or cinema studies that questions the essentialism of cinema and provides conceptual frameworks for understanding film's relationship to reality, the other arts, individual viewers, and society at large. Film theory is not to be confused with general film criticism, or film history, though these three disciplines interrelate.
A film director is a person who directs the making of a film. A film director controls a film's artistic and dramatic aspects and visualizes the screenplay while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision. The director has a key role in choosing the cast members, production design, and the creative aspects of filmmaking. Under European Union law, the director is viewed as the author of the film.
Tarkovsky studied film at Moscow's State Institute of Cinematography, and subsequently directed his first five feature films in the Soviet Union: Ivan's Childhood (1962), Andrei Rublev (1966), Solaris (1972), Mirror (1975), and Stalker (1979). After years of conflict with Soviet authorities over his work, Tarkovsky left the country in 1979 and made his final two films abroad; Nostalghia (1983) and The Sacrifice (1986) were produced in Italy and Sweden respectively. In 1986, he also published a book about cinema and art entitled Sculpting in Time . He died of cancer later that year.
A feature film, feature-length film, or theatrical film is a film with a running time long enough to be considered the principal or sole film to fill a program. The term feature film originally referred to the main, full-length film in a cinema program that also included a short film and often a newsreel. The notion of how long a feature film should be has varied according to time and place. According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the American Film Institute and the British Film Institute, a feature film runs for more than 40 minutes, while the Screen Actors Guild asserts that a feature's running time is 75 minutes or longer.
The Soviet Union, officially known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a federal sovereign state in northern Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, in practice its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centers were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Tashkent, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometers (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometers (4,500 mi) north to south. Its territory included much of Eastern Europe, as well as part of Northern Europe and all of Northern and Central Asia. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.
Ivan's Childhood, sometimes released as My Name Is Ivan in the US, is a 1962 Soviet war drama film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky and co-written by Mikhail Papava and an uncredited Tarkovsky, based on Vladimir Bogomolov's 1957 short story Ivan. The film features child actor Nikolai Burlyayev along with Valentin Zubkov, Evgeny Zharikov, Stepan Krylov, Nikolai Grinko, and Tarkovsky's wife Irma Raush.
Tarkovsky was the recipient of several awards at the Cannes Film Festival throughout his career (including the FIPRESCI prize, the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, and the Grand Prix Spécial du Jury) and winner of the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival for his debut film Ivan's Childhood. In 1990, he was posthumously awarded the Soviet Union's prestigious Lenin Prize. Three of his films—Andrei Rublev, Mirror, and Stalker—featured in Sight & Sound ’s 2012 poll of the 50 greatest films of all time.
The Cannes Festival, until 2002 called the International Film Festival and known in English as the Cannes Film Festival, is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres, including documentaries from all around the world. Founded in 1946, the invitation-only festival is held annually at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès.
The Prize of the Ecumenical Jury is an independent film award for feature length films shown at major international film festivals since 1973. The award was created by christian film makers, film critics and other film professionals. The objective of the award is to "honour works of artistic quality which witnesses to the power of film to reveal the mysterious depths of human beings through what concerns them, their hurts and failings as well as their hopes." The ecumenical jury can be composed out of 8, 6, 5, 4 or 3 members, who are nominated by SIGNIS for the Catholics and Interfilm for the Protestants. SIGNIS and Interfilm appoint ecumenical juries at various international film festivals, including Cannes Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, Locarno International Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival and the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
The Grand Prix is an award of the Cannes Film Festival bestowed by the jury of the festival on one of the competing feature films. It is the second-most prestigious prize of the festival after the Palme d'Or. Prior to its creation, the Special Jury Prize held the "second place".
Andrei Tarkovsky was born in the village of Zavrazhye in the Yuryevetsky District of the Ivanovo Industrial Oblast (modern-day Kadyysky District of the Kostroma Oblast, Russia) to the poet and translator Arseny Alexandrovich Tarkovsky, a native of Yelisavetgrad, Kherson Governorate, and Maria Ivanova Vishnyakova, a graduate of the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute who later worked as a corrector; she was born in Moscow in the Dubasov family estate. Andrei's paternal grandfather Aleksandr Karlovich Tarkovsky (in Polish : Aleksander Karol Tarkowski) was a Polish nobleman who worked as a bank clerk. His wife Maria Danilovna Rachkovskaya was a Romanian teacher who arrived from Iași. Andrei's maternal grandmother Vera Nikolaevna Vishnyakova (née Dubasova) belonged to an old Dubasov family of Russian nobility that traces its history back to the 17th century; among her relatives was Admiral Fyodor Dubasov, a fact she had to conceal during the Soviet days. She was married to Ivan Ivanovich Vishnyakov, a native of the Kaluga Governorate who studied law at the Moscow University and served as a judge in Kozelsk. According to the family legend, Tarkovsky's ancestors on his father's side were princes from the Shamkhalate of Tarki, Dagestan, although his sister Marina Tarkovskaya who did a detailed research on their genealogy called it «a myth, even a prank of sorts», stressing that none of the documents confirms this version.
Yuryevetsky District is an administrative and municipal district (raion), one of the twenty-one in Ivanovo Oblast, Russia. It is located in the east of the oblast. The area of the district is 788 square kilometers (304 sq mi). Its administrative center is the town of Yuryevets. Population: 15,930 (2010 Census); 19,366 ; 24,522 (1989 Census). The population of Yuryevets accounts for 64.1% of the district's total population.
Kadyysky District is an administrative and municipal district (raion), one of the twenty-four in Kostroma Oblast, Russia. It is located in the south of the oblast. The area of the district is 2,190 square kilometers (850 sq mi). Its administrative center is the urban locality of Kadyy. Population: 8,374 (2010 Census); 10,341 ; 12,847 (1989 Census). The population of Kadyy accounts for 43.0% of the district's total population.
Kostroma Oblast is a federal subject of Russia. Its administrative center is the city of Kostroma and its population as of the 2010 Census is 667,562. It was formed in 1944 on the territory detached from neighboring Yaroslavl Oblast.
Tarkovsky spent his childhood in Yuryevets. [ citation needed ] His father left the family in 1937, subsequently volunteering for the army in 1941. He returned home in 1943, having being awarded a Red Star after being shot in one of his legs (which he would eventually need to amputate due to gangrene). Tarkovsky stayed with his mother, moving with her and his sister Marina to Moscow, where she worked as a proofreader at a printing press. In 1939 Tarkovsky enrolled at the Moscow School No. 554. During the war, the three evacuated to Yuryevets, living with his maternal grandmother. In 1943 the family returned to Moscow. Tarkovsky continued his studies at his old school, where the poet Andrey Voznesensky was one of his classmates. He studied piano at a music school and attended classes at an art school. The family lived on Shchipok Street in the Zamoskvorechye District in Moscow. From November 1947 to spring 1948 he was in the hospital with tuberculosis. Many themes of his childhood—the evacuation, his mother and her two children, the withdrawn father, the time in the hospital—feature prominently in his film Mirror .He was described by childhood friends as active and popular, having many friends and being typically in the center of action.
Yuryevets is a town and the administrative center of Yuryevetsky District in Ivanovo Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Unzha and the Volga Rivers. Population: 10,210 (2010 Census); 12,664 (2002 Census); 16,535 (1989 Census).
The Order of the Red Star was a military decoration of the Soviet Union. It was established by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of 6 April 1930 but its statute was only defined in decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of 5 May 1930. That statute was amended by decrees of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of 7 May 1936, of 19 June 1943, of 26 February 1946, of 15 October 1947, of 16 December 1947 and by decree No 1803-X of 28 March 1980.
In his school years, Tarkovsky was a troublemaker and a poor student.He still managed to graduate, and from 1951 to 1952 studied Arabic at the Oriental Institute in Moscow, a branch of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Although he already spoke some Arabic and was a successful student in his first semesters, he did not finish his studies and dropped out to work as a prospector for the Academy of Science Institute for Non-Ferrous Metals and Gold. He participated in a year-long research expedition to the river Kureikye near Turukhansk in the Krasnoyarsk Province. During this time in the taiga, Tarkovsky decided to study film.
Turukhansk is a rural locality and the administrative center of Turukhansky District of Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, located 1,474 kilometers (916 mi) north of Krasnoyarsk, at the confluence of the Yenisey and Nizhnyaya Tunguska Rivers. 4,662 (2010 Census); 4,849 (2002 Census); 8,869 (1989 Census); 200 (1897).
Krasnoyarsk Krai is a federal subject of Russia, with its administrative center in the city of Krasnoyarsk—the third-largest city in Siberia. Comprising half of the Siberian Federal District, Krasnoyarsk Krai is the largest krai in the Russian Federation, the second largest federal subject and the third largest subnational governing body by area in the world, after Sakha and the Australian state of Western Australia. The krai covers an area of 2,339,700 square kilometers (903,400 sq mi), which is nearly one quarter the size of the entire country of Canada, constituting roughly 13% of the Russian Federation's total area and containing a population of 2,828,187, or just under 2% of its population, per the 2010 Census.
Taiga, generally referred to in North America as boreal forest or snow forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests consisting mostly of pines, spruces, and larches.
Upon returning from the research expedition in 1954, Tarkovsky applied at the State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) and was admitted to the film-directing program. He was in the same class as Irma Raush whom he married in April 1957.
The early Khrushchev era offered good opportunities for young film directors. Before 1953, annual film production was low and most films were directed by veteran directors. After 1953, more films were produced, many of them by young directors. The Khrushchev Thaw relaxed Soviet social restrictions a bit and permitted a limited influx of European and North American literature, films and music. This allowed Tarkovsky to see films of the Italian neorealists, French New Wave, and of directors such as Kurosawa, Buñuel, Bergman, Bresson, Andrzej Wajda (whose film Ashes and Diamonds influenced Tarkovsky) and Mizoguchi.
Tarkovsky's teacher and mentor was Mikhail Romm, who taught many film students who would later become influential film directors. In 1956 Tarkovsky directed his first student short film, The Killers , from a short story of Ernest Hemingway. The short film There Will Be No Leave Today and the screenplay Concentrate followed in 1958 and 1959.
An important influence on Tarkovsky was the film director Grigory Chukhray, who was teaching at the VGIK. Impressed by the talent of his student, Chukhray offered Tarkovsky a position as assistant director for his film Clear Skies. Tarkovsky initially showed interest but then decided to concentrate on his studies and his own projects.
During his third year at the VGIK, Tarkovsky met Andrei Konchalovsky. They found much in common as they liked the same film directors and shared ideas on cinema and films. In 1959 they wrote the script Antarctica – Distant Country, which was later published in the Moskovskij Komsomolets . Tarkovsky submitted the script to Lenfilm, but it was rejected. They were more successful with the script The Steamroller and the Violin , which they sold to Mosfilm. This became Tarkovsky's graduation project, earning him his diploma in 1960 and winning First Prize at the New York Student Film Festival in 1961.
Tarkovsky's first feature film was Ivan's Childhood in 1962. He had inherited the film from director Eduard Abalov, who had to abort the project. The film earned Tarkovsky international acclaim and won the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival in the year 1962. In the same year, on 30 September, his first son Arseny (called Senka in Tarkovsky's diaries) Tarkovsky was born.
In 1965, he directed the film Andrei Rublev about the life of Andrei Rublev, the fifteenth-century Russian icon painter. Andrei Rublev was not, except for a single screening in Moscow in 1966, immediately released after completion due to problems with Soviet authorities. Tarkovsky had to cut the film several times, resulting in several different versions of varying lengths. The film was widely released in the Soviet Union in a cut version in 1971. Nevertheless, film had a budget of more than 1 million rubles – a significant sum for that period.
He divorced his wife, Irma Raush, in June 1970. In the same year, he married Larissa Kizilova (née Egorkina), who had been a production assistant for the film Andrei Rublev (they had been living together since 1965). Their son, Andrei Andreyevich Tarkovsky, was born in the same year on 7 August.A version of the film was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 1969 and won the FIPRESCI prize.
In 1972, he completed Solaris , an adaptation of the novel Solaris by Stanisław Lem. He had worked on this together with screenwriter Fridrikh Gorenshtein as early as 1968. The film was presented at the Cannes Film Festival, won the Grand Prix Spécial du Jury and the FIPRESCI prize, and was nominated for the Palme d'Or. From 1973 to 1974, he shot the film Mirror , a highly autobiographical and unconventionally structured film drawing on his childhood and incorporating some of his father's poems. In this film Tarkovsky portrayed the plight of childhood affected by war. Tarkovsky had worked on the screenplay for this film since 1967, under the consecutive titles Confession, White day and A white, white day. From the beginning the film was not well received by Soviet authorities due to its content and its perceived elitist nature. Russian authorities placed the film in the "third category," a severely limited distribution, and only allowed it to be shown in third-class cinemas and workers' clubs. Few prints were made and the film-makers received no returns. Third category films also placed the film-makers in danger of being accused of wasting public funds, which could have serious effects on their future productivity.These difficulties are presumed to have made Tarkovsky play with the idea of going abroad and producing a film outside the Soviet film industry.
During 1975, Tarkovsky also worked on the screenplay Hoffmanniana , about the German writer and poet E. T. A. Hoffmann. In December 1976, he directed Hamlet , his only stage play, at the Lenkom Theatre in Moscow. The main role was played by Anatoly Solonitsyn, who also acted in several of Tarkovsky's films. At the end of 1978, he also wrote the screenplay Sardor together with the writer Aleksandr Misharin.
The last film Tarkovsky completed in the Soviet Union was Stalker , inspired by the novel Roadside Picnic by the brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. Tarkovsky had met the brothers first in 1971 and was in contact with them until his death in 1986. Initially he wanted to shoot a film based on their novel Dead Mountaineer's Hotel and he developed a raw script. Influenced by a discussion with Arkady Strugatsky he changed his plan and began to work on the script based on Roadside Picnic. Work on this film began in 1976. The production was mired in troubles; improper development of the negatives had ruined all the exterior shots. Tarkovsky's relationship with cinematographer Georgy Rerberg deteriorated to the point where he hired Alexander Knyazhinsky as a new first cinematographer. Furthermore, Tarkovsky suffered a heart attack in April 1978, resulting in further delay. The film was completed in 1979 and won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the Cannes Film Festival.
In the same year Tarkovsky also began the production of the film The First Day (Russian: Первый День Pervyj Dyen′), based on a script by his friend and long-term collaborator Andrei Konchalovsky. The film was set in 18th-century Russia during the reign of Peter the Great and starred Natalya Bondarchuk and Anatoli Papanov. To get the project approved by Goskino, Tarkovsky submitted a script that was different from the original script, omitting several scenes that were critical of the official atheism in the Soviet Union. After shooting roughly half of the film the project was stopped by Goskino after it became apparent that the film differed from the script submitted to the censors. Tarkovsky was reportedly infuriated by this interruption and destroyed most of the film.
During the summer of 1979, Tarkovsky traveled to Italy, where he shot the documentary Voyage in Time together with his long-time friend Tonino Guerra. Tarkovsky returned to Italy in 1980 for an extended trip, during which he and Guerra completed the script for the film Nostalghia .
Tarkovsky returned to Italy in 1982 to start shooting Nostalghia . He did not return to his home country. As Mosfilm withdrew from the project, he had to complete the film with financial support provided by the Italian RAI. Tarkovsky completed the film in 1983. Nostalghia was presented at the Cannes Film Festival and won the FIPRESCI prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. Tarkovsky also shared a special prize called Grand Prix du cinéma de creation with Robert Bresson. Soviet authorities prevented the film from winning the Palme d'Or,a fact that hardened Tarkovsky's resolve to never work in the Soviet Union again. He also said: "I am not a Soviet dissident, I have no conflict with the Soviet Government." But if he returned home, he added, "[he] would be unemployed." In the same year, he also staged the opera Boris Godunov at the Royal Opera House in London under the musical direction of Claudio Abbado.
He spent most of 1984 preparing the film The Sacrifice . At a press conference in Milan on 10 July 1984, he announced that he would never return to the Soviet Union and would remain in Europe. At that time, his son Andrei Jr. was still in the Soviet Union and not allowed to leave the country. On 28 August 1985, Tarkovsky arrived at Latina Refugee Camp in Latina,where he was registered with the serial number 13225/379.
The Sacrifice was Tarkovsky's last film, dedicated to his son, Andrei Jr. Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, which documents the making of The Sacrifice, was released after the filmmaker's death in 1986. In a particularly poignant scene, writer/director Michal Leszczylowski follows Tarkovsky on a walk as he expresses his sentiments on death – he claims himself to be immortal and has no fear of dying.
During 1985, he shot the film The Sacrifice in Sweden. At the end of the year he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. In January 1986, he began treatment in Paris and was joined there by his son, who was finally allowed to leave the Soviet Union. The Sacrifice was presented at the Cannes Film Festival and received the Grand Prix Spécial du Jury, the FIPRESCI prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. As Tarkovsky was unable to attend due to his illness, the prizes were collected by his son, Andrei Jr.
In Tarkovsky's last diary entry (15 December 1986), he wrote: "But now I have no strength left – that is the problem". The diaries are sometimes also known as Martyrolog and were published posthumously in 1989 and in English in 1991.
Tarkovsky died in Paris on 29 December 1986. His funeral ceremony was held at the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. He was buried on 3 January 1987 in the Russian Cemetery in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois in France. The inscription on his gravestone, which was conceived by Tarkovsky's wife, Larisa Tarkovskaya, reads: To the man who saw the Angel.
A conspiracy theory emerged in Russia in the early 1990s when it was alleged that Tarkovsky did not die of natural causes but was assassinated by the KGB. Evidence for this hypothesis includes testimonies by former KGB agents who claim that Viktor Chebrikov gave the order to eradicate Tarkovsky to curtail what the Soviet government and the KGB saw as anti-Soviet propaganda by Tarkovsky. Other evidence includes several memoranda that surfaced after the 1991 coup and the claim by one of Tarkovsky's doctors that his cancer could not have developed from a natural cause.
As with Tarkovsky, his wife Larisa Tarkovskaya and actor Anatoly Solonitsyn all died from the very same type of lung cancer. Vladimir Sharun, sound designer in Stalker , is convinced that they were all poisoned by the chemical plant where they were shooting the film.
Numerous awards were bestowed on Tarkovsky throughout his lifetime. At the Venice Film Festival he was awarded the Golden Lion for Ivan's Childhood . At the Cannes Film Festival, he won the FIPRESCI prize four times, the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury three times (more than any other director), and the Grand Prix Spécial du Jury twice. He was also nominated for the Palme d'Or two times. In 1987, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awarded the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Language Film to The Sacrifice .
Under the influence of Glasnost and Perestroika, Tarkovsky was finally recognized in the Soviet Union in the Autumn of 1986, shortly before his death, by a retrospective of his films in Moscow. After his death, an entire issue of the film magazine Iskusstvo Kino was devoted to Tarkovsky. In their obituaries, the film committee of the Council of Ministers of the USSR and the Union of Soviet Film Makers expressed their sorrow that Tarkovsky had to spend the last years of his life in exile.
Posthumously, he was awarded the Lenin Prize in 1990, one of the highest state honors in the Soviet Union. In 1989 the Andrei Tarkovsky Memorial Prize was established, with its first recipient being the Russian animator Yuriy Norshteyn. In three consecutive events, the Moscow International Film Festival awards the annual Andrei Tarkovsky Award in the years of 1993, 1995 and 1997.
In 1996 the Andrei Tarkovsky Museum opened in Yuryevets, his childhood town.A minor planet, 3345 Tarkovskij, discovered by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Georgievna Karachkina in 1982, has also been named after him.
Tarkovsky has been the subject of several documentaries. Most notable is the 1988 documentary Moscow Elegy , by Russian film director Alexander Sokurov. Sokurov's own work has been heavily influenced by Tarkovsky. The film consists mostly of narration over stock footage from Tarkovsky's films. Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky is 1988 documentary film by Michal Leszczylowski, an editor of the film The Sacrifice. Film director Chris Marker produced the television documentary One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich as an homage to Andrei Tarkovsky in 2000.
Ingmar Bergman was quoted as saying: "Tarkovsky for me is the greatest [of us all], the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream".Film historian Steven Dillon says that much of subsequent film was deeply influenced by the films of Tarkovsky.
At the entrance to the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow, there is a monument that includes statues of Tarkovsky, Gennady Shpalikov and Vasily Shukshin.
Concentrate (Russian: Концентрат, Kontsentrat) is a never-filmed 1958 screenplay by Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky. The screenplay is based on Tarkovsky's year in the taiga as a member of a research expedition, prior to his enrollment in film school. It's about the leader of a geological expedition, who waits for the boat that brings back the concentrates collected by the expedition. The expedition is surrounded by mystery, and its purpose is a state secret.
Although some authors claim that the screenplay was filmed, according to Marina Tarkovskaya, Tarkovsky's sister (and wife of Aleksandr Gordon, a fellow student of Tarvosky during his film school years) the screenplay was never filmed. Tarkovsky wrote the screenplay during his entrance examination at the State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) in a single sitting. He earned the highest possible grade, excellent (Russian: отлично) for this work. In 1994 fragments of the Concentrate were filmed and used in the documentary Andrei Tarkovsky's Taiga Summer by Marina Tarkovskaya and Aleksandr Gordon.
Hoffmanniana (Russian : Гофманиана) is a never-filmed 1974 screenplay by Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky. The screenplay is based on the life and work of German author E. T. A. Hoffmann. In 1974 an acquaintance from Tallinnfilm approached Tarkovsky to write a screenplay on a German theme. Tarkovsky considered Thomas Mann and E.T.A. Hoffmann, and also thought about Ibsen's Peer Gynt . In the end Tarkovsky signed a contract for a script based on the life and work of Hoffmann. Tarkovsky planned to write the script during the summer of 1974 at his dacha. Writing was not without difficulty, less than a month before the deadline he had not written a single page. He finally finished the project in late 1974 and submitted the final script to Tallinnfilm in October.
Although the script was well received by the officials at Tallinnfilm, it was the consensus that no one but Tarkovsky would be able to direct it. The script was sent to Goskino in February 1976, and although approval was granted for proceeding with making the film the screenplay was never realized. In 1984, during the time of his exile in the West, Tarkovsky revisited the screenplay and made a few changes. He also considered to finally direct a film based on the screenplay but ultimately dropped this idea.
Tarkovsky became a film director during the mid and late 1950s, a period referred to as the Khrushchev Thaw, during which Soviet society opened to foreign films, literature and music, among other things. This allowed Tarkovsky to see films of European, American and Japanese directors, an experience that influenced his own film making. His teacher and mentor at the film school, Mikhail Romm, allowed his students considerable freedom and emphasized the independence of the film director.
Tarkovsky was, according to fellow student Shavkat Abdusalmov, fascinated by Japanese films. He was amazed by how every character on the screen is exceptional and how everyday events such as a Samurai cutting bread with his sword are elevated to something special and put into the limelight.Tarkovsky has also expressed interest in the art of Haiku and its ability to create "images in such a way that they mean nothing beyond themselves".
Tarkovsky perceived that the art of cinema has only been truly mastered by very few filmmakers, stating in a 1970 interview with Naum Abramov that "they can be counted on the fingers of one hand".In 1972, Tarkovsky told film historian Leonid Kozlov his ten favorite films. The list includes: Diary of a Country Priest and Mouchette by Robert Bresson; Winter Light , Wild Strawberries , and Persona by Ingmar Bergman; Nazarín by Luis Buñuel; City Lights by Charlie Chaplin; Ugetsu by Kenji Mizoguchi; Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa, and Woman in the Dunes by Hiroshi Teshigahara. Among his favorite directors were Buñuel, Mizoguchi, Bergman, Bresson, Kurosawa, Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean Vigo, and Carl Theodor Dreyer.
With the exception of City Lights, the list does not contain any films of the early silent era. The reason is that Tarkovsky saw film as an art as only a relatively recent phenomenon, with the early film-making forming only a prelude. The list has also no films or directors from Tarkovsky's native Russia, although he rated Soviet directors such as Boris Barnet, Sergei Parajanov and Alexander Dovzhenko highly. He said of Dovzhenko's Earth : "I have lived a lot among very simple farmers and met extraordinary people. They spread calmness, had such tact, they conveyed a feeling of dignity and displayed wisdom that I have seldom come across on such a scale. Dovzhenko had obviously understood wherein the sense of life resides. [...] This trespassing of the border between nature and mankind is an ideal place for the existence of man. Dovzhenko understood this."
Although strongly opposed to commercial cinema, in a famous exception Tarkovsky praised the blockbuster film The Terminator , saying that its "vision of the future and the relation between man and its destiny is pushing the frontier of cinema as an art". He was critical of the "brutality and low acting skills", but was nevertheless impressed by the film.
In a 1962 interview, Tarkovsky argued: "All art, of course, is intellectual, but for me, all the arts, and cinema even more so, must above all be emotional and act upon the heart."His films are characterized by metaphysical themes, extremely long takes, and images often considered by critics to be of exceptional beauty. Recurring motifs are dreams, memory, childhood, running water accompanied by fire, rain indoors, reflections, levitation, and characters re-appearing in the foreground of long panning movements of the camera. He once said: "Juxtaposing a person with an environment that is boundless, collating him with a countless number of people passing by close to him and far away, relating a person to the whole world, that is the meaning of cinema."
Tarkovsky incorporated levitation scenes into several of his films, most notably Solaris. To him these scenes possess great power and are used for their photogenic value and magical inexplicability.Water, clouds, and reflections were used by him for their surreal beauty and photogenic value, as well as their symbolism, such as waves or the forms of brooks or running water. Bells and candles are also frequent symbols. These are symbols of film, sight and sound, and Tarkovsky's film frequently has themes of self-reflection.
Tarkovsky developed a theory of cinema that he called "sculpting in time". By this he meant that the unique characteristic of cinema as a medium was to take our experience of time and alter it. Unedited movie footage transcribes time in real time. By using long takes and few cuts in his films, he aimed to give the viewers a sense of time passing, time lost, and the relationship of one moment in time to another.
Up to, and including, his film Mirror , Tarkovsky focused his cinematic works on exploring this theory. After Mirror, he announced that he would focus his work on exploring the dramatic unities proposed by Aristotle: a concentrated action, happening in one place, within the span of a single day.
Several of Tarkovsky's films have color or black-and-white sequences. This first occurs in the otherwise monochrome Andrei Rublev , which features a color epilogue of Rublev's authentic religious icon paintings. All of his films afterwards contain monochrome, and in Stalker's case sepia sequences, while otherwise being in color. In 1966, in an interview conducted shortly after finishing Andrei Rublev, Tarkovsky dismissed color film as a "commercial gimmick" and cast doubt on the idea that contemporary films meaningfully use color. He claimed that in everyday life one does not consciously notice colors most of the time, and that color should therefore be used in film mainly to emphasize certain moments, but not all the time, as this distracts the viewer. To him, films in color were like moving paintings or photographs, which are too beautiful to be a realistic depiction of life.
Ingmar Bergman, a renowned director, commented on Tarkovsky:
My discovery of Tarkovsky's first film was like a miracle. Suddenly, I found myself standing at the door of a room the keys of which had until then, never been given to me. It was a room I had always wanted to enter and where he was moving freely and fully at ease. I felt encountered and stimulated: someone was expressing what I had always wanted to say without knowing how. Tarkovsky is for me the greatest, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream
Contrarily, however, Bergman conceded the truth in the claim made by a critic who wrote that "with Autumn Sonata Bergman does Bergman", adding: "Tarkovsky began to make Tarkovsky films, and that Fellini began to make Fellini films [...] Buñuel nearly always made Buñuel films." This pastiche of one's own work has been derogatorily termed as "self-karaoke".
Tarkovsky worked in close collaboration with cinematographer Vadim Yusov from 1958 to 1972, and much of the visual style of Tarkovsky's films can be attributed to this collaboration.Tarkovsky would spend two days preparing for Yusov to film a single long take, and due to the preparation, usually only a single take was needed.
In his last film, The Sacrifice , Tarkovsky worked with cinematographer Sven Nykvist, who had worked on many films with director Ingmar Bergman. (Nykvist was not alone: several people involved in the production had previously collaborated with Bergman, notably lead actor Erland Josephson, who had also acted for Tarkovsky in Nostalghia .) Nykvist complained that Tarkovsky would frequently look through the camera and even direct actors through it.
Tarkovsky is mainly known as a film director. During his career he directed seven feature films, as well as three shorts from his time at VGIK. His features are:
He also wrote several screenplays. Furthermore, he directed the play Hamlet for the stage in Moscow, directed the opera Boris Godunov in London, and he directed a radio production of the short story Turnabout by William Faulkner. He also wrote Sculpting in Time , a book on film theory.
Tarkovsky's first feature film was Ivan's Childhood in 1962. He then directed Andrei Rublev in 1966, Solaris in 1972, Mirror in 1975 and Stalker in 1979. The documentary Voyage in Time was produced in Italy in 1982, as was Nostalghia in 1983. His last film The Sacrifice was produced in Sweden in 1986. Tarkovsky was personally involved in writing the screenplays for all his films, sometimes with a cowriter. Tarkovsky once said that a director who realizes somebody else's screenplay without being involved in it becomes a mere illustrator, resulting in dead and monotonous films.
Books written by Tarkovsky
A book of 60 photos, Instant Light, Tarkovsky Polaroids, taken by Tarkovsky in Russia and Italy between 1979 and 1984 was published in 2006. The collection was selected by Italian photographer Giovanni Chiaramonte and Tarkovsky's son Andrey A. Tarkovsky.
The cinema of the Soviet Union includes films produced by the constituent republics of the Soviet Union reflecting elements of their pre-Soviet culture, language and history, albeit they were all regulated by the central government in Moscow. Most prolific in their republican films, after the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, were Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, and, to a lesser degree, Lithuania, Belarus and Moldavia. At the same time, the nation's film industry, which was fully nationalized throughout most of the country's history, was guided by philosophies and laws propounded by the monopoly Soviet Communist Party which introduced a new view on the cinema, socialist realism, which was different from the one before or after the existence of the Soviet Union.
Mosfilm is a film studio which is among the largest and oldest in the Russian Federation and in Europe. Its output includes most of the more widely acclaimed Soviet-era films, ranging from works by Andrei Tarkovsky and Sergei Eisenstein, to Red Westerns to the Akira Kurosawa co-production Dersu Uzala and the epic War and Peace.
The Sacrifice is a 1986 drama film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. Starring Erland Josephson, it centers on a middle-aged intellectual who attempts to bargain with God to stop an impending nuclear holocaust. The Sacrifice was Tarkovsky's third film as a Soviet expatriate, after Nostalghia and the documentary Voyage in Time, and was also his last, as he died shortly after its completion. Like 1972's Solaris, it won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival.
Andrei Sergeyevich Mikhalkov-Konchalovsky is a Russian film director, film producer and screenwriter. He was a frequent collaborator of Andrei Tarkovsky earlier in his career. He is the son of Natalia Konchalovskaya and Sergey Mikhalkov and the brother of Nikita Mikhalkov, who is also a well-known Russian film director.
Andrei Rublev is a 1969 Soviet biographical historical drama film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky and co-written with Andrei Konchalovsky. The film was remade and re-edited from the 1966 film titled The Passion According to Andrei by Tarkovsky which was censored during the first decade of the Brezhnev era in the Soviet Union. The film is loosely based on the life of Andrei Rublev, the 15th-century Russian icon painter. The film features Anatoly Solonitsyn, Nikolai Grinko, Ivan Lapikov, Nikolai Sergeyev, Nikolai Burlyayev and Tarkovsky's wife Irma Raush. Savva Yamshchikov, a famous Russian restorer and art historian, was a scientific consultant of the film.
Anatoly Alekseyevich Solonitsyn was a Soviet actor. He was born in Bogorodsk.
Nostalghia is a 1983 Soviet-Italian film, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, and starring Oleg Yankovsky, Domiziana Giordano, and Erland Josephson. Tarkovsky co-wrote the screenplay with Tonino Guerra.
Mirror is a 1975 Russian art film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. It is loosely autobiographical, unconventionally structured, and incorporates poems composed and read by the director's father, Arseny Tarkovsky. The film features Margarita Terekhova, Ignat Daniltsev, Alla Demidova, Anatoli Solonitsyn, Tarkovsky's wife Larisa Tarkovskaya and his mother Maria Vishnyakova. Innokenty Smoktunovsky provides voiceover and Eduard Artemyev the incidental music and sound effects.
Voyage in Time is a 63-minute feature documentary that documents the travels in Italy of the director Andrei Tarkovsky with the script writer Tonino Guerra in preparation for the making of his film Nostalghia. In addition to the preparation of Nostalghia, their conversations cover a wide range of matters, filmmaking or not. Notably, Tarkovsky reveals his filmmaking philosophy and his admiration of films by, among others, Robert Bresson, Jean Vigo, Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini, and Ingmar Bergman.
The Steamroller and the Violin, is a 1961 featurette directed by Andrei Tarkovsky and from a screenplay written by Andrei Konchalovsky and Andrei Tarkovsky. The film tells the story of the unlikely friendship of Sasha, a little boy, and Sergey, the operator of a steamroller. The film was Tarkovsky's diploma film at the State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK), but was made at the Mosfilm studio.
Gennady Fyodorovich Shpalikov was a prominent Soviet Russian poet, screenwriter and film director.
Moscow Elegy is a 1988 documentary film directed by Alexander Sokurov, about the later life and death of Soviet Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. The film was originally intended to mark the 50th birthday of Tarkovsky in 1982, which would have been before his death. Controversy with Soviet authorities about the film's style and content led to significant delays in the production.
Vadim Ivanovich Yusov was a Soviet and Russian cinematographer and professor at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography. He was known for his collaborations with Andrei Tarkovsky on The Steamroller and the Violin, Ivan's Childhood, Andrei Rublev and Solaris, and with Georgi Daneliya on I Step Through Moscow. He won a number of Nika Awards and Golden Osella for Ivan Dykhovichny's The Black Monk at the Venice International Film Festival in 1988.
Andrei Tarkovsky (1932–1986) was a Russian film director, screenwriter and film theorist. He directed several student films, co-directed a documentary, and was the author of numerous screenplays, both for his own films and for those of other directors. He directed two stage plays and one radio production, played minor acting roles in several films, and wrote a book on film theory. In addition, Tarkovsky kept a diary and appeared in, or was the subject of, several dozen documentaries on the history of cinema and the art and craft of filmmaking.
One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich is a 1999 French documentary film directed by Chris Marker, about and an homage to the Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. The film was an episode of the French documentary film series Cinéastes de notre temps, which in over ninety episodes since 1966 concentrates on individual film directors, film people and film movements. The title of the film is a play on the title of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's novella One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.
Larisa Tarkovskaya, born Larisa Pavlovna Egorkina, and Larisa Kizilova during her first marriage, was a Russian actress and second wife of the film director Andrei Tarkovsky. She is best known for her role as Nadezhda in Mirror. She had one daughter, the actress Olga Kizilova from her first marriage, and a son, Andrei Jr., from her marriage with Andrei Tarkovsky. She died in Paris in 1998.
Solaris is a 1972 Soviet science fiction art film based on Stanisław Lem's novel of the same name published in 1961. The film was co-written and directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, and stars Donatas Banionis and Natalya Bondarchuk. The electronic music score was performed by Eduard Artemyev; a composition by J.S. Bach is also employed.
Aleksandr Nikolaevich Misharin also known in English as Alexander Misharin was a Soviet - Russian screenwriter, playwright, novelist, actor and senior editor of Russian periodicals. An Honored Artist of the Russian Federation (2000), he was a close friend of Andrei Tarkovsky with whom he wrote several screenplays, including Tarkovsky's celebrated masterpiece Mirror.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Andrej Tarkovskij .|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Andrei Tarkovsky|