“To me, filmmaking has always been a moral occupation rather than a trade,” the outstanding Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky used to say. He would have turned 80 on April 8.
“Discovering Tarkovsky was like a miracle,” the acclaimed Swedish moviemaker Ingmar Bergman wrote later. “I sort of found myself standing before a locked door of a room I had been dreaming to enter but had no key to it, while he could move in and around quite easily”. Bergman was not alone in admiring Tarkovsky, who, sadly enough, gained more recognition in the West than at home, something that has happened all too often in Russian culture.
Each of Tarkovsky’s films starting from his debut work “Ivan’s Childhood”, a deeply moving tale of a boy confronted by the harsh realities of war, to his last film “The Sacrifice” – won prestigious international awards, often more than one at a time, including a Golden Lion in Venice and a Silver Palm in Cannes.
Tarkovsky’s heritage numbers seven full-length films, among them the historical and religious drama “Andrei Rublyov”, the philosophical sci-fi movie “Solaris” and the autobiographical fantasy “Mirror”. It could have been larger had not his life been cut short at the age of 54 and had he received support and understanding when he was in his prime instead of being ostracized and hunted by the Soviet cultural bureaucracy.
"In each of his films, he stayed true to himself in spite of the incredible difficulties he had to endure and the ideological pressure he came under over each of his films made in the Soviet Union. He was a combatant artist who stood up for his art, says Tarkovsky’s sister Maria, a philologist and a writer."
“A daring talent” – that’s what film director Andrei Konchalovsky, a long-time friend of Tarkovsky’s and co-author of scripts for some of his films, said about him.
"Tarkovsky became a household name as soon as he appeared: provocative, sharp, irreconcilable, uncompromising, and so on and so forth. Andrei’s very first film “Ivan’s Childhood” was a revelation. People throughout the world began looking upon him as a pioneer of a new directing style."
Tarkovsky’s style strikingly expressive, yet profoundly lyrical style combines the hypnotic expressiveness of classical painting, music and poetry masterfully woven into the cinematic canvas. In most of his films we can hear poems written by his father Arseny Tarkovsky. “That was more than cinema,” film director Pavel Lungin remarks. ...