Starting tomorrow, July 7, and continuing through July 14, the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York will be presenting “Revisiting Tarkovsky,” a complete retrospective of the Russian director’s films.
From the Film Society’s website: “In April, over 7,000 people feasted on the work of a true master of cinema during the Film Society’s Satyajit Ray series. Now we’re proud to present a complete retrospective of another titanic film artist: Andrei Tarkovsky. Often mentioned in the same exalted company as Fellini, Godard, Kurosawa and Bergman, Tarkovsky made only seven features–all of which will be screened during this spotlight event.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the director’s work, the Film Society’s blog has a podcast that might serve as a good primer before diving in and includes an interview with director Dmitry Trakovsky whose documentary “Meeting Andrei Tarkovsky” will screen as part of the series. According to The Film Talk’s Jett Loe (for whom Tarkovsky’s “‘Andrei Rublev’ is the best film ever made”) “‘Andrei Rublev’ seemed to have been shot on location in the Middle Ages and it had an incredible quality as if the camera wasn’t there, as if he was filming without a camera, as if the actors didn’t even know they were being filmed… I would say that with Tarkovsky films, unlike with almost anyone else in cinema, they’re shot on location in real life. There’s more life in a frame of Tarkovsky, in a frame of ‘Andrei Rublev’ than just about anything else I’ve ever seen.”
Just as enthusiastic is Joshua Rothkopf writing for Time Out New York: “This is serious filmmaking, of a pace that will test modern attention spans. But the rewards are hard to overstate: a fluidity of emotion and memory that feels like the creation of a diaristic art form. Tarkovsky’s more intimate dramas attract the hottest critical support: 1975’s Proustian mortality drama ‘The Mirror’; the lovely ‘Nostalgia’ (1983); and his final film, ‘The Sacrifice’, a 1986 cry against nuclear holocaust. At these 35mm screenings, you will almost certainly see expat Russians reconnecting with a bold talent.”
Jim Hoberman at the Village Voice recommends checking out “Stalker,” which he calls “a perverse replay of ‘Solaris’’s cosmic voyage, a remake of Andrei Rublev in a secular world of post-apocalyptic misery. (It’s also weirdly evocative of David Lynch’s ‘Eraserhead’). ‘Stalker’ is as devious as it is gorgeous—the only certain thing is its blatant anti-technological, anti-rational, anti-materialist bias” and “Solaris.” On the latter he writes: “Originally hailed as the ‘Soviet 2001,’ Tarkovsky’s sci-fi epic is actually something closer to ‘Vertigo’—a strange and beautiful meditation on memory, simulation, and lost love.” And, on “My Name Is Ivan”: “Tarkovsky’s first feature is a remarkable debut that chronologically fractures a conventional Soviet World War II story about a martyred child scout, while imbuing it with the fiercely lyrical pantheism that would flower in ‘Andrei Rublev.'”
As mentioned, the series includes several screenings of Dmitry Trakovsky’s documentary “Meeting Andrei Tarkovsky.” About the film: “In 1987, a year after Tarkovsky’s death, Dmitry Trakovsky and his parents emigrated from Russia to the United States, where he grew up feeling a special relationship to the images, sounds, and themes in Tarkovsky’s films. Here, he goes in searchof other lives affected by the auteur’s work: collaborators Erland Josephson and Domiziana Giordano, friends Krzysztof Zanussi and Franco Terilli, an Orthodox priest, and even the director’s son, Andrei Andreevich Tarkovsky.”
Watch the trailer for “Meeting Andrei Tarkovsky” on YouTube.
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