Andrei Tarkovsky  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky (April 4, 1932 - December 29, 1986) was a Russian film director, writer and opera director. Although Tarkovksy directed only seven feature films during his twenty-year active career, he is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers of the late 20th century. He attained critical acclaim for directing such films as Andrei Rublev, Solaris and Stalker.

Tarkovsky also worked extensively as a screenwriter, film editor, film theorist and theater director. He directed most of his films in the Soviet Union, with the exception of his last two films which were produced in Italy and Sweden. His films are characterized by Christian spirituality and metaphysical themes, extremely long takes, lack of conventional dramatic structure and plot, and memorable images of exceptional beauty.

Cinematic Style

Tarkovsky's films are characterised by Christian and metaphysical themes, extremely long takes, and memorable images of exceptional beauty. Recurring motifs in his films are dreams, memory, childhood, running water accompanied by fire, rain indoors, reflections, levitation, and characters re-appearing in the foreground of long panning movements of the camera.

Tarkovsky included levitation scenes into several of his films, most notably Solaris. To him these scenes possess great power and are used for its photogenic value and its magic inexplicability. Likewise, water is also used by him for its photogenic value and its beauty, in particular in the form of brooks or running water.

Tarkovsky developed a theory of cinema that he called "sculpting in time". By this he meant that the unique characteristic of cinema as a medium was to take our experience of time and alter it. Unedited movie footage transcribes time in real time. By using long takes and few cuts in his films, he aimed to give the viewers a sense of time passing, time lost, and the relationship of one moment in time to another.

Up to, and including, his film Mirror, Tarkovsky focused his cinematic works on exploring this theory. After Mirror, he announced that he would focus his work on exploring the dramatic unities proposed by Aristotle: a concentrated action, happening in one place, within the span of a single day.

Several of Tarkovsky's films are shot both in color and black and white, including for example Andrei Rublev which features an epilogue in color, and Solaris and Mirror, which feature several black and white sequences. In 1966, in an interview conducted shortly after finishing Andrei Rublev, Tarkovsky dismisses color film as a "commercial gimmick" and doubts that contemporary films meaningfully use color. He claims that in everyday life one does not consciously notice colors most of the time. Hence in film color should be used mainly to emphasize certain moments, but not all the time as this distracts the viewer. To him, films in color are like moving paintings or photographs, which are too beautiful to be a realistic depiction of life.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Andrei Tarkovsky" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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