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Found 12 results

  1. I've been mulling this one over for several weeks, and was inspired to write about it in the "turning off acclaimed movies" thread by Ron's positive comment about it, but then decided to give it its own thread. The purpose of this thread is to discuss crucial climactic plot points of the film, so MAJOR follow. You've been warned. Okay, here's what's been sticking in my craw. Most sources I've read who set out to illuminate the movie's themes and meaning, including Tarkovsky himself, talk about it in terms of rejecting materialism, rediscovering spirituality, self-sacrifice, and so on. Tarkovsky, and others, talk about the Christian dimension in this theme of self-sacrifice and spirituality. My problem with this is that it all seems to be predicated on ONE of the TWO originally separate story ideas that Tarkovsky eventually fused into his final film. Originally Tarkovsky had two separate ideas for two separate films, one about a man who gives up his life and family in order to undo the apocalyse, and one about a man who discovers that he has cancer and is cured by having sex with a witch. In its final form, Offret fuses these two mystical elements, does away with the cancer device, and has the protagonist BOTH give up his life, family, house, speech, etc., AND ALSO sleep with the witch in order to undo the apocalypse. Anyone have any thoughts on how successful or unsuccessful this fusion is? What Tarkovsky may have been trying to achieve, and what is in fact the net effect of the juxtaposition? Does it seem to anyone else that if the original sacrifice theme is in any way Christian, the addition of the magical-sex witch motif creates a kind of Christian-pagan dialectic, perhaps as in Andrei Rublev? What about the fact that the protagonist of Andrei Rublev is more or less vamped by a sexy naked woman who is overtly a pagan (and described in the credits, at least in English, as a witch), and he resists, whereas the protagonist of Offret must more or less throw himself at a rather demure, unseductive (but not unattractive) maid who, if she is a witch at all, never lets on? Is there any sense in which the witch scene can be seen as sacrificial? If so, how? I'm not primarily concerned here with the moral issue, though that can't be excluded entirely. Certainly there's no suggestion that the protagonist really WANTS to sleep with the maid or is looking for an excuse to do so, nor does the film take any interest in whatever pleasure he might derive from doing so. Still, all things being equal, there's certainly a sense in which offering an older man the opportunity to save the world by sleeping with a younger woman is not as obviously a sacrifice as asking him to burn down his house, vow silence for the rest of his life, and get taken away from his family in a paddy wagon. Certainly as a means of saving the world, sleeping with a witch has definite perks over burning your house down, etc. Even if one held strong Christian principles against sexual immorality, the notion that THIS act might be capable of saving the world would create a strong challenge to the idea that there are no exceptions [typo earlier, sorry] to the proscriptions of sexual morality, and would suggest the idea that this might be a case of such an exception where no moral wrong would be done -- a notion that, for an awful lot of men, however strong their moral beliefs might be, would not be a wholly unappealing thought. Not that Tarkovsky shows any sign of being interested in such questions, at least overtly (though I do find the comparison-contrast between Andrei Rublev and Offret suggestive). I don't mean to give the witch subplot an undue importance, but it does seem to be the element that creates the difficulty. Any thoughts? Other, completely unrelated thoughts about Offret also welcome.
  2. Ron Reed

    Stalker (1979)

    Okay, maybe it was the wrong night to watch this one. But yeesh, that was a painful, annoying, cool-looking, talky, tedious journey to a peculiar sort of hell. Presumably others had a less agonizing, more enlightening ride?
  3. I'm reading complaints about both DVD editions of this film. Does anybody have a strong preference for the Kino or the R.U.S.C.I.C.O. version? Or is there a better version out there I should seek out?
  4. (A&F links to Andrei Tarkovsky and Stalker) Alright everyone, one of our most anticipated books of the year is out in the stores now. We might as well have a thread for it. Since Stalker is now going to be ranked #2 in our soon to be released Top 25 Pilgrimage films list, it's rather nice that there's a book coming out just now on it. From The Guardian - From The White Review - From Ruthless Culture -
  5. Ron Reed


    mdsteves posted the following over in the Film, Criticism & Appreciation section. I figure it's a great topic, better suited to this neighbourhood - and more likely to get noticed. Just wondering if anyone likes/dislikes Andrei Tarkovsky? Mainly curious because it seems one either loves or hates his work. Personally I love the stuff but appreciation is rather demanding. Also I wonder what the thoughts are on his reject of Eisenstein's montage theory on juxtaposing shots to create meaning. If anyone cares to comment on the iconography of his work feel free. Personally Stalker is my favorite film of his. Fire away. Matt Welcome, Matt! (Er, that came out kind of odd. Oh well...) My Tarkovsky background is pretty limited, but he's made a huge impression. Knowing nothing about him, I saw THE SACRIFICE maybe a decade ago, and it was one of the most extraordinary movie experiences of my life. I think on another night, when I was tired or distractable or with particular expectations, I might easily have fallen into the "hate it" side of the "love it or hate it" equation. But I guess it was the right night, because I was completely captivated. So little happens in the film (in a narrative sense), and so little of it made real sense to me: nevertheless, it was like I was under a spell, completely engaged in trying to puzzle out what was going on, and in awe of the images in front of me, the sense of mystery. It really was a kind of religious experience. I'm not sure that I was even aware at the time of the film maker's Christian faith, but I definitely had a divine encounter watching that film. My two most-trusted movie buddies both count ANDREI ROUBLEV as their favourite film of all time, but forbad me to see it until I could catch it on a big screen. So I only managed to see it this summer, as part of the touring Tarkovsky retrospective. This time I was fighting tiredness, particularly in the last third of the movie. So it didn't have the transporting effect that SACRIFICE had had. I was intrigued by the film, eager to learn more about it and revisit it again, with the sense that this would be a lifetime relationship. I'm very eager to see STALKER, which is the favourite film of another of my friends. And SOLARIS, to compare and contrast with the Soderbergh remake (which I won't see until I've checked out the original). I'm reluctant, though, to see them on my home TV screen, so I don't know when I'll be getting to those. There are a couple good Tarkovsky sites out there. And I believe that a couple of the people who used to frequent this board do a lot of Tarkovsky on their film sites, as well. Do you know those? Ron
  6. MattPage

    Solaris (1972)

    I finally saw Soderbergh's version yesterday (how many people have seen Tarkovsky's in the cinema, but only seen Soderbergh's on video?). I guess having only seen Tarkovsky once I was quite keen to see Soderbergh's take on it, and hopefully to enlighten me about the other as well. And havng seen it to that end I thought it did well, and lets face it for a holywood film it was ambitious and adventurous. I was quite surprised that it got negative-ish views amongst those on the board. liked it. I guess maybe if you see it next to Tarkovsky it makes more sense, but I was confused by responses to the ending. I thought the ending was meant to be negative, but for example SDG said in his review: QUOTE With both films, if the ending is understood as intended to be a feel-good sentimental sop to the viewer, then it becomes profoundly disturbing and anti-humanistic...I have a suspicion in the case of Solaris that it isn�t meant to be dreadful and empty. Why did you (and others) come to that conclusion? I thought we increasingly see the irrationalism of Clooney and are gradually encouraged to side with the captain (whatever her name was). Anyway...any other thoughts? Matt
  7. As pieces of imagery and as poetry I love it without reserve but I'm still not fully grasping the themes. I know that Tarkovsky is a very dense filmmaker and there are some scenes where the tone alone gives me feelings that could come together into the vaguest of overall impressions. Maybe a commentary would help, he sets up these settings that are so surreal and subtly confusing that they are practically paintings and then he places character and dialogue and context in there and it becomes just too much to take in. Add to this his penchant for completely switching gears (mood, setting, characters) and within twenty minutes, any framework I have for an analysis is almost completely destroyed. I know I shouldn't even be talking yet as Tarkovsky apparently takes a very long time to sink in but I can already tell this is one I'll have to see again before I can even begin to make sense of it. Again though, several of the sequences are unspeakably lovely. His style is extraordinary, I just wish at the moment that his substance was a wee bit easier to untangle. Does anyone have any ideas as to what it all means?
  8. (A&F links to Andrei Rublev (1966), Solaris (1972), Mirror (1975), Stalker (1979), Nostalghia (1983), Voyage in Time (1983), The Sacrifice (1986), and the documentary Meeting Andrei Tarkovsky (2008).) Alright, there's no way that each of Tarkovsky's films don't get their own individual threads for purposes of their own unique discussions. I'm just about to rewatch this one. Here's a compilation of comments so far from the general Tarkovsky thread.
  9. Can anyone please put me straight about this film? I saw it several years ago and was left with the surprising and puzzling feeling that the director was some sort of pagan nature-worshipper. Nothing of the comparatively little that I've read about Tarkovsky would lead me to believe this,but does anyone please have any comments on- the film's depiction of the persecuted 'pagan' group(was Tarkovsky as a christian simply sympathetic to them because of their reverence for nature/beauty?) the very end of the film, when the montage of Rublev's beautiful icons is 'washed away',and,IIRC, there is an image of horses in a field.Should I read that as something more like an assertion that God's creation is much greater than our creations,rather than respond to it as some sort of declaration of the supremacy of nature? Thanks,David
  10. (A&F links to the general Tarkovsky thread, Ivan's Childhood (1962), Andrei Rublev (1966), Solaris (1972), Mirror (1975), Stalker (1979), Nostalghia (1983), The Sacrifice (1986), and the documentary Meeting Andrei Tarkovsky (2008).) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EXcApkj2xI More on this later. (I'm just being thorough.)
  11. I thought y'all would be interested to know about this, so I'm pasting this text in from the latest issue of ImageUpdate, Image's bi-monthly e-newsletter: Meeting Andrei Tarkovsky The films of the Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986) are generally long and have little plot or action. Many find them impossible, or at least difficult, to watch. But for many others, Tarkovsky’s films have become life-changing events. His epic, Andrei Rublev, about the famous Russian icon painter, is considered one of the greatest films of all time. Steven Soderbergh so loved Tarkovsky’s science fiction film Solaris that he made his own version as an homage. Tarkovsky’s characters are caught between desire and despair—they hunger for something infinite. Now there is an outstanding documentary about his life and work—a film that could serve either as an introduction to Tarkovsky’s oeuvre, or a satisfying way of digging deeper into films that have become a part of your life. Meeting Andrei Tarkovsky is all the more astonishing because it was made by a young man in his early twenties. Dmitry Trakovsky (no relation to the filmmaker; note the difference of spelling) is the child of Russian immigrants. He grew up in California but developed a fascination with Tarkovsky, whose films are so deeply Russian in spirit. The documentary traces the young man’s journey of discovery, but the focus is squarely on the fascinating individuals he interviews and the places where Tarkovsky lived and filmed. He speaks to the filmmaker’s son, to the Italian actress who appeared in Nostalghia, and to the famous Swedish actor, Erland Josephson, who acted in Tarkovsky’s final film, The Sacrifice. But some of the most profound interviews come from those who have never seen the limelight: a young Orthodox monk from California, the woman who runs the Tarkovsky museum in Russia. Many of these interviews shine with an almost spiritual light—because they have been touched in some way by Tarkovsky’s genius. Perhaps the most moving of all comes from the great Polish film director, Krzysztof Zanussi, who visited Tarkovsky on his deathbed (he died of a brain tumor). Zanussi, a good friend, was already well-known then; Tarkovsky understood that people would come to Zanussi in search of information about him. “Tell them,” he whispered to Zanussi, “that I am a sinner.” One last thing: the young maker of Meeting Andrei Tarkovsky is attempting to prepare the documentary for release on DVD but he needs your pre-orders to have the resources to do so. We urge you to make the investment; it’s well worth it. Go to the film’s website -- http://trakovskyfilm.com/.
  12. I'm intrested in whather Tarkovsky travled to Japan, China before making his movie Solyaris. Thank you for your informatin, Darjan.
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