The latter

Andrei Tarkovsky was a lump of nerves. He could not relax. And in the end he ate himself

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Andrei Arsenyevich's character was very difficult

Andrei Arsenyevich’s character was very difficult



No Soviet director has delighted his colleagues as much as he did Andrey Tarkovsky. Is that Eisenstein – but his films still look further, the more they look like museum exhibits; and Tarkovsky’s films are still more alive than all the living. Lars von Trier said he was not religious, but after watching The Mirror, Tarkovsky became a deity to him. The author of “Survivor” and “Birdman” Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu said that the acquaintance with “Andrei Rublev” was a shock to him – all ideas about cinema have changed. (By the way, in the same “Survivor” Inyaritu from the fullness of feelings shoved so many allusions to Tarkovsky’s films that some began to talk about plagiarism – although, of course, it’s just fanaticism). In the English Wikipedia, in the article about Tarkovsky, there is a whole huge section devoted to the enthusiastic reviews of Jean-Paul Sartre, Michael Haneke, Akira Kurosawa, Krzysztof Keslewski and other titans. Ingmar Bergman was probably the best: “My first encounter with Tarkovsky’s film was like a miracle. I suddenly found myself in front of a room whose keys no one had given me before. It was a room I always wanted to enter – and it turned out that another person had been walking there for a long time, and he felt completely free there. “

At the same time, surprisingly, Tarkovsky has a lot of haters: people who find his paintings funny, boring, sad. Finally, just incomprehensible. Andrei Konchalovsky, who worked with him in the 1960s (they wrote several screenplays, the most famous of which is Andrei Rublev), makes it clear in his memoirs that Tarkovsky sometimes drove him crazy. Once they were in Georgia, walking on the road, and Tarkovsky kept repeating: “I would like, you know, somehow these petals, these sticky leaves … And these geese are flying…” Everyone was blabbering on about petals and leaves , among whom his soul wandered. But it was necessary to write an action. ” It seemed to Konchalovsky that Tarkovsky was “wrong” not only with the scripts, but also with the actors – he could not explain to them what he wanted from them. That he is “a prisoner of his talent. His paintings are a painful search for something, in words inexpressible, indistinct, like mooing. Maybe that’s what makes them so attractive. Compared to him, I probably always operated with more traditional categories. “

Andrei Arsenyevich’s character was very difficult. Selections of his statements about colleagues, acquaintances, actors and other people’s films are circulating on the Internet, and Tarkovsky is completely ruthless in them. “Amadeus” by Foreman. Eight Oscars – and so incompetent. And all “,” Today I watched “Waterloo” by Bondarchuk. Poor Serezha! Shame on him “,” I accidentally read in the “New World” “Kazan University” Yevtushenko. What nonsense! Hurry up “- and so on and so forth.

Andrei Tarkovsky as a child

Andrei Tarkovsky as a child

Photo: Personal archive of the hero of the publication

And it was very difficult to work with him. He led the Strugatsky brothers to “powerless despair” during the filming of “Stalker”, forcing him to rewrite the script nine times, and there are still legends about his grand quarrel with the outstanding cameraman Georgy Rerberg. -for the marriage of the film, or simply because the concept has changed).

But, probably, all these were not caprices, but painful attempts of the poet to find correct lines and images, – and Tarkovsky suffered no less, than those whom he tortured. “He ate himself. He was constantly tense, constantly a lump of nerves. I could never relax, “Konchalovsky recalled.

Andrei Arsenyevich died at the age of 54, leaving only seven feature films. To fall in love with them, the viewer will probably have to relax and fall into the screen, indulge in the images and emotions of Tarkovsky. Well, for example, in “Nostalgia” there is a moment when the tired, half-dead hero of Yankovsky lies down on a bed in hotel. There is a long, incredibly long pause, Yankovsky falls asleep – and then, already inside his sleep, a dog runs into the room and starts licking his hand. From the soft shuffling of the dog’s paws, from its rough tongue, from the twilight and rain outside the window, from the deadly sadness that fills the air in the room, an electric shock suddenly passes through the spectator; and this is an absolute miracle, the magic of pure cinema. There are many such scenes in his seven films. If you want to understand and love Tarkovsky, feel free to follow these images, react to them not even with the mind, but with the spine, as ingenious poems or paintings – and soon you will not notice how you will be drawn into his world.


Tarkovsky was not immediately going to become a film director. The son of the outstanding poet Arseniy Tarkovsky as a child was engaged in drawing a lot, then for some reason began to study Arabic at the Institute of Oriental Studies, then left and got a job as a collector in a research expedition – a year wandering in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. And only after that he decided to enter the VGIK.

By the way, it is difficult to imagine an author, in all respects more distant from Tarkovsky than Vasily Shukshin, but they studied together and were the stars of their course, which was led by Soviet classic Mikhail Romm. Tarkovsky’s first wife, Irma Raush, recalled that “the admissions committee persuaded Romm not to take him to the studio: Shukshin – because of lack of education, and Tarkovsky, on the contrary – because of omniscience.” Romm began by announcing to students a list of books they needed to read; “Everyone missed something while writing it down. Only Shukshin wrote everything in a row, and only Tarkovsky did nothing at all. Romm looked at him curiously from under his glasses and laughed. ”Shukshin would later star in Tarkovsky’s first short film, Hemingway’s Assassins. He had to play in “Andrei Rublev” brothers-princes – but refused. Apparently, he did not like Andrei Rublev in principle, he had a completely different view of Russian history and a different hero, Stepan Razin. And, of course, it is impossible to imagine that Shukshin would leave the USSR for Europe forever (as Tarkovsky did in the end).

Tarkovsky with his second wife Larisa Kizilova and son Andrei

Tarkovsky with his second wife Larisa Kizilova and son Andrei


But, nevertheless, history has preserved a charming fable about them: at the premiere of “Kalina Krasnaya” both came on stage and hugged, and Tarkovsky said: “There are only two real directors in this hall”, referring to himself and Shukshin… And under Shukshin dreamed of the end of Tarkovsky’s life: they were playing cards, Shukshin said that he was now “writing something”, and then the players got up and someone said: “You have to pay”. Two days later, Tarkovsky was diagnosed with cancer.

And then, in the 60’s, Tarkovsky became famous first. When he was 30, he made his feature film debut, Ivan’s Childhood, and won the Venice Film Festival with him. It was a brilliant start, after which the torment began. He began work on “Andrei Rublev” before “Ivan’s childhood”, and it took him many years: the film was released in the Soviet Union only in 1971, and even then in abbreviated form. “Mirror” was to be released on 73 copies, but ended up in Moscow for only two (!), And was quickly removed from the rental. Chief Soviet filmmaker Philip Ermash refused to show “The Mirror” at the Cannes Film Festival – despite the fact that he dreamed of showing it there (and in any case, how would it hinder the prestige of Soviet cinema?) Stalker’s shooting turned into hell – not only because problems with the script and quarrels with George Rerberg, but also because the film was shot in an area with a monstrous environmental situation (soon the members of the film crew literally started an epidemic of oncology).

The easiest thing for Tarkovsky was “Solaris” – the film adaptation of Stanislav Lem’s novel spoiled him the least blood (except that the Polish writer did not like: he spent a month and a half in Moscow discussing this project with Tarkovsky, and eventually quarreled with him.

But it is even more insulting that Tarkovsky did not carry out even half of what he had planned. In 1979, he drew up a “long-term plan” for his work at Mosfilm. He wanted to make a four-hour “Idiot” by Dostoevsky, “Death of Ivan Ilyich” by Tolstoy, “Escape” about the last year of Tolstoy’s life, “Double” – a film about Dostoevsky about his biography and prose, “Master and Margarita” by Bulgakov. And “Nostalgia” in Italy. He only shot “Nostalgia”. And from the filming in Italy to his homeland, this lyricist and martyr has not returned.


“Ivan’s Childhood” (1962)

Andrei Rublev (1966)

Solaris (1972)

The Mirror (1974)

Stalker (1979)

Nostalgia (1983)

Sacrifice (1986)

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