Andrei Tarkovsky

Andrei Tarkovsky

Director

One of the most influential filmmakers of all time, Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986) carved out a singular vision of the world over just seven feature films: five made in his native Soviet Russia, and a final two made in exile in Western Europe. The son of celebrated poet Arseny Tarkovsky, whose works appear in his films, Andrei studied Arabic and worked as a prospector in the Siberian taiga before turning to film and studying at the VGIK film school under Mikhail Romm. There he met Andrei Konchalovsky, with whom he produced his diploma film, The Steamroller and the Violin in 1961. Tarkovsky’s feature debut, Ivan’s Childhood, won the Golden Lion at Venice and established him as an international star. His epic follow-up, Andrei Rublev (1965) was denied an initial release and recut by Soviet censors, the first of several run-ins with the authorities. In these films and his subsequent Soviet titles – Solaris (1972), Mirror (1974), Stalker (1979) – Tarkovsky developed his signature style, characterised by long takes, spiritual questioning, and play with memory and dreams; the director famously described his films as “sculpting in time”. While working on a Soviet-Italian co-production in the early 1980s, Tarkovsky decided not to return to the Soviet Union; Nostalghia, completed in 1983, was his first film as an exile. His final film, 1986’s The Sacrifice, was made with many collaborators of Tarkovsky’s icon Ingmar Bergman on the Swedish island of Gotland. Tarkovsky died of cancer shortly after completing the film.

Films