After Andrei Rublev (1966) and Solaris (1972), two more of Tarkovsky’s films, Mirror (1975) and Stalker (1979) are featured in Filmaholics with English subtitles on youtube.
Mirror is considered by many critics as the epitome of Tarkovsky’s sense of cinema that reflects real life experience on a river that flows through our screens passing in front of us to make us recognise the concept of time and its intersection with our lives.
The so-called evolving time in Tarkovsky’s cinematic world that expressed his poetic senses inherited by his father and well-known poet Arseny Alexandrovich Tarkovsky, is explained thoroughly in his book Sculpting in Time (Russian original title: “Запечатлённое время”, meaning “Captured Time”) that was published in 1985, just one year before his death and after having established a great legacy throughout his films.
This book was his ultimate attempt to embrace a global audience that was left rather stunned by his poetic films but also in an undetermined state of vagueness.
According to Tarkovsky, this vagueness cannot and should not be explained.
When watching Mirror, this concept is more evident as the film follows an unconventional structure and sticks to a nonlinear narrative unfolding life memories of a dying poet. Through the poet’s recollections, historic events of great importance like the Spanish civil war, WWII and Hiroshima, and the evolution of the Soviet Union along with its relations with other countries follow the slow pace of Tarkovsky’s sculpting time in the cinema screen.
We become part of this history with the eyes of an unexplored character in a mixture of an aberrant childhood, elusive dreams and newsreel footage that conclude to an abstract feeling of confusion, something which at the early years of the film created polarisation between critics and audiences.
Considered as a science fiction art drama and directed by Tarkovsky, Stalker was written by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky and was based on their 1972 novel Roadside Picnic which influenced the cultural zeitgeist of the time in many senses and originated the term “Stalker” as a man who navigates forbidden and uncharted territories.
As of 1998, the book was translated in 20 different languages and published in 22 countries and the film was already a sci-fi drama classic at the time. The film landed overwhelmingly positive reviews deriving from its continuous shots and rejecting rapid montage to show a constant pursue of inspiration within the plot and a desire to discover.
The story revolves around the central character, “Stalker” (Aleksandr Kaydanovskiy), an undaunted person that guides two men, a melancholic writer (Anatoly Solonitsyn) seeking inspiration, and a professor (Nikolai Grinko) seeking scientific discovery, to a mysterious and unexplored place called “Zone”which supposedly can grant wishes.
Since 2019 Tarkovsky’s timeless audience can learn more about his life and work.
His son, Andrey Tarkovsky Jr, after having spent 25 years working on his father’s archives he ended up filming a documentary containing original footage of his father’s personal life, artistic achievements and revealing his inner self.
The documentary film is called Andrei Tarkovsky. A Cinema Prayer (2019) and premiered in Venice Film Festival last year.
Tarkovsky junior, who has been living in Italy for many years, is now underway of creating a museum in Florence to eternalize his father’s legacy by presenting to the public archives that are already under the protection of the Italian Ministry of Culture as a particularly valuable cultural asset.
In contrast to critics’ allegations regarding his father’s political struggle of the time he has famously said:
My father was not a political dissident; he was an artist. The only thing he sought in life and why he left his homeland was the desire to create. He simply had to be able to make films.Andrey Tarkovsky Jr on his father