In case you were wondering why my numbers were skipping around, it is because I wanted to write one piece on the films I watched by Andrei Tarkovsky. Tarkovsky is one of the top 3 most famous Russian Filmmakers, and he only made 7 feature films over the course of 25 years or so. Having taken a course on Russian Cinema this spring, I decided to finish off the films I had not yet seen. These are The Mirror, Nostalghia, and The Sacrifice. Word of warning, Tarkovsky’s films are not the most accessible in the world. They are often over two hours, have long takes where nothing really happens, and they are meant for multiple viewings. He is often known for the dreamlike feelings his films induce, and they often do not appear real even if it is in the reality of the film. So if you’re not scared off by this, keep reading.
The Mirror, which was released in 1975, if perhaps the most surreal out of the three I watched. It spans time and memories, traveling throughout the years as a man, close to death, reflects on his life. This is the shortest of the three films, and it is not the easiest to follow. I am not going to even try to analyze these films but if you want to take a crack at it, it is on Youtube.
Nostalghia is more or less accessible than The Mirror. It was released in 1983 and is about a poet who is traveling through Europe researching a deceased composer when he meets a crazy person named Domenico. The poet starts to admire him and he soon is having flashbacks and memories of his homeland. For those of you who do not know the history of Tarkovsky, he was always controversial under communist rule, and his son was never allowed to leave Russia, so once Tarkovsky left, he never came back. So this movie was essentially about missing his homeland, which is really sad.
The Sacrifice was Tarkovksy’s final film. Released in 1986, it follows a man in a world that is on the verge of WWIII and he tries to find a way to make peace in the world. The beautiful thing about this film is the final shot. It mirrors the first shot in his first film, Ivan’s Childhood.
Like I said, all of these movies are not for a just “sit down and watch” afternoon. They require your full attention. There are so many subtleties that you look away for just a minute and you miss something big.
On the complete opposite side of the spectrum, I rewatched Dumb and Dumber in honor of the sequel coming out and it being 20 years old and all. It is amazing how well the movie stands the test of time. I don’t know how well the sequel will do, it might be too late for it to have any effect. Also, the Farrelly brothers haven’t exactly had the best streak lately. Need I mention there was already a prequel? Haven’t heard of it? You’re not missing much.