How Andrei Tarkovsky shot his masterpieces

April 4 marks the 90th anniversary of the birth of Andrei Tarkovsky, an outstanding Russian director who is recognized by almost everyone outside his native country. His films have won prestigious film awards in the United States, France, Italy and Spain. He was admired by the classic of world cinema Ingmar Bergman, calling him “the greatest of all.” Modern directors (Andrei Zvyagintsev, Alexander Sokurov, Lars von Trier, Steven Soderbergh, etc.) are still trying to imitate him without hesitation.

His diaries have been translated into many languages ​​and published throughout Europe. His paintings will soon be re-released in Russia. He inscribed himself in eternity, shooting not as many paintings as many full-length colleagues – only seven. In general, one of them could be enough for this. For the director’s anniversary in absentia, “Teleprogramma” opens the backstage and shows how Andrei Tarkovsky created some of his masterpieces.

Photo: frame from the movie

Tuchkovo (Moscow region), 1936. Four-year-old Andrei Tarkovsky with his sister Marina. It is here, in the village of Gorchakov, in 38 years the director will shoot the picture “Mirror” about his family and difficult relationships with her, although the future director was born in another picturesque place – the village Zavrazhye (Kostroma region), and during the war bathed in the Volga Yurievets (Ivanovo region), where the Tarkovsky House-Museum is located. The director loved to weave past and present, present and future. Therefore, in “Mirror” he presented three stages of life and three generations of his own family. He called cinema a mosaic of time.

“Ivan’s Childhood” (1962)

Photo: frame from the movie

This is how the famous scene of a boy bathing in water with apples was filmed in the film “Ivan’s Childhood”. In one of the strongest films about the war, Tarkovsky invited fourteen-year-old Kolya Burlyaev (later – “Military Field Novel”) to the role of a boy who lost his parents and did not lose. The debut film brought the director of the Golden Lion Cannes Film Festival and the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco Film Festival. In the film, the author tried to reflect on how war affects the condition of an individual. More precisely, a child, because it is childhood that “most contrasts with war,” as the director believed.

The Mirror (1974)

Photo: frame from the movie

A sharp personal statement, Tarkovsky’s film confession, made in the associative editing technique of Federico Fellini, is dedicated to the director’s family. Unspoken and inescapable pain from relationships with parents looks and breaks in the form of dreams and memories. His father, the poet Arseniy Tarkovsky, left the family in 1937, leaving Andrei and his sister Marina in the care of his mother, Maria Ivanovna Vishnyakova, who devoted herself entirely to children. The director’s personal diary reads: “It may be a great film, but it will be very difficult to make.” Nevertheless, the film “Mirror” was shot and in a poll of world film critics took 19th place in the list of the greatest films in history.

Stalker (1979)

Photo: frame from the movie

Perhaps the most significant work of the master. Under the hypnotic music of Eduard Artemyev, the frame unfolds a philosophical parable in the apocalyptic-post-nuclear space – the Zone, until his death similar to the territory of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant after the accident. Even the fantasy drama Solaris (1972) on cosmism and psychology is not close to Stalker. Here Tarkovsky entered the astral and “legally touched the transcendent,” as he himself admitted. The film could not be shown, the picture was shot three times (!) With different cameramen and artists, and in one of the scenes under water flashes a note with the date of death of the director (December 29).

And this is seven years before the tragic event! The flow of time in the picture literally oozes from the screen. In the endless lengths of the scenes – the abyss of water, among which Tarkovsky grew up, because during the construction of the Gorky HPP the lower part of his village was flooded: “My childhood went under water.” Here the director’s gift to express the landscape of his own soul through the expressive means of cinema reaches its peak.

Sacrifice (1986)

Photo: frame from the movie

Tarkovsky called this picture of the terminally ill (lung cancer) a will, he wrote the script himself. The film was really the last for the director. And it was accompanied by strange coincidences: just two weeks before the world premiere, scheduled for May 9, 1986 in Stockholm, there was a catastrophe at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The site where Tarkovsky filmed an episode of the war was the site of the assassination of a Swedish politician, Prime Minister Olof Palme, after whom a street in Moscow is named.

The killer was standing exactly where the camera was during the filming. Many believe that this is not a mystic, but a movie that broke the fabric of life and continues in it. In his diary, Tarkovsky often describes dreams. He considered them things, that’s why he played them in movies. In “Sacrifice” as many as six dream scenes, including the one in which he lies exhausted, “witnessing his corpse.” “Sacrifice is what every generation must do to their children,” Tarkovsky said.

We thank the TV channel “Mosfilm. Golden Collection “for help with photos.

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