classified 12A S

Sculpting Time - Andrei Tarkovsky


Please note: This was screened in July 2016

Andrei Tarkovsky
126 mins, Subtitled, 1979, USSR

“It felt like a symptom of the hopelessness of trying to grasp what is boundless” – Tarkovsky, reflecting on the period when he initially left Russia.

Highly cerebral, beautifully realised, and symbolically obscure, Tarkovsky’s first film directed outside of his home country stands as a testament to his own conflicting thoughts regarding Russia as he considered a self-proclaimed exile while aware of the pining for his homeland that this would inevitably inflict.

Andrei Gorchakov is a Russian poet, travelling through Italy, researching the life of 18th Century Russian composer Pavel Sosnovsky. Homesickness and despair frustrate him until he meets Domenico - a madman - who had once imprisoned his entire family to save them from the evils of the outside world. Through conversations with Domenico along with his research subject, Gorchakov is visited by memories of Russia and of his wife and children that rekindles a melancholy longing in him for the land he calls home. And when he is set a challenging task – of walking a flickering candle from one end of a spa pool to the other – he resigns himself to performing this existential mission in order to find the spiritual enlightenment in his life that has so far eluded him.

A deeply personal film, it greatly mirrored Tarkovsky’s own life for a time and demonstrated what it is like to be intensely aware of being an outsider. Filled with mysterious and extraordinary imagery, all of which coalesce into a miraculous whole in the film’s astonishing final shot, this is perhaps the nearest claim to the poetic to which cinema can ever aspire.

  • The screening of Nostalgia on Tue 2 Aug is part of our Cinébites deal: get 30% off any main dish in the Café/Bar with a valid cinema ticket.