“We can express our feelings regarding the world around us either by poetic or by descriptive means. I prefer to express myself metaphorically. Let me stress: metaphorically, not symbolically. A symbol contains within itself a definite meaning, certain intellectual formula, while metaphor is an image. An image possessing the same distinguishing features as the world it represents. An image — as opposed to a symbol — is indefinite in meaning. One cannot speak of the infinite world by applying tools that are definite and finite. We can analyse the formula that constitutes a symbol, while metaphor is a being-within-itself, it’s a monomial. It falls apart at any attempt of touching it.” – Andrei Tarkovsky
Andrei Tarkovsky created some of the most beautiful, transcendental, and awe-inspiring films I’ve had the privilege of viewing. They contain such love, tranquility, and simplicity that they are imbued with a seemingly mystical capacity to produce in the viewer a higher state of conscious awareness, contemplation, and even the all-too-rare aesthetic experience. What’s more, he instills so much of his self – his thoughts, his emotions, his soul – within his work, that the viewer experiences the revelation of profound truths: the existential truth about who this man is, and the phenomenological truth about how he subjectively experienced the world. Experiencing Tarkovsky is unlike any other; if there are any films that can, his films refute any suspicion that film cannot be considered art.
In particular, I consider Tarkovsky particularly masterful with lighting and colour organization. His work in these respects is nothing short of brilliance.
I had the most difficulty ordering the first three titles in this list. I believe each of them could be considered the greatest film ever created; for this reason, they are interchangeable, and where they lie depends on how one chooses to critique them. The order I have chosen is based on artistic worth and personal veneration, which I consider especially valuable of film. Had I chosen based on philosophic worth, the second ranked title would be first; had I chosen based on craftsmanship, the third ranked title would be first. I ought to note that I regard all three titles as secure notches in my top ten, with the primary two likely posited in my top five.I have given a 5 star rating to all seven of Tarkovsky’s features, as well as the short film placed 8th. 9 and 10 receive 4/5 stars, and 11 receives 3/5
Finally, Anatoli Solonitsyn deserves recognition for his work. I agree with Tarkovsky himself that Solonitsyn was one of the finest actor’s of his day. I truly wish he had lived long enough to play the lead roles in Nostalghia and The Sacrifice as planned; I believe he would have been the optimal lead role for either film, and his presence would have benefited them both.
Scenes I particularly appreciate:
The Steamroller And The Violin:
– The kaleidoscopic vision of reflected images in a multiple-way mirror.
– The first scene, as the short shot of Ivan elevates through the tree and stops at a super-long shot of Ivan in the middle of the field.
– The memory/dream-sequence of Ivan and his sister in the back of a wagon picking apples.
– The buffoon singing that bizarre song near the beginning.
– Andrei nervously talks with Danila, before he leaves to meet Theophanes.
– The entire “Bell” act.
– Kirill’s revelation; when Kirril breaks down, tells Andrei the truth about his jealousy and his realization that talent is a gift from God
that should not be wasted, but used to bring joy, love, and hope to all those suffering.
– Boriska breaking down in Andrei’s arms. The succession of artists…Thephanes, Andrei Rublev, Boriska
– Burton’s speech about what he saw on Solaris.
– Chris watching the video left by Dr. Sartorious.
– The final scene; he’s still on Solaris.
– The first scene of Yuri Zhary with a speech impediment relieving the tension he’s holding. This is honestly quite possibly my favorite
scene of any film of all time, and I think people underestimate it’s vitality in understanding the film.
– The house-fire in the beginning.
– Every image of one or more reflected images.
– The grenade scene.
– The two instances wherein a light is turned on and off, and the light ever so slowly creeps on, makes a sharp dinging sound and, with a
short flash of light, instantly returns to darkness. I particularly appreciate the second of the two.
– All the dialogue.
– The concept of the Zone (alright it’s not a scene, but it had to be mentioned).
– The final scene of the little telepathic monkey (Stalker’s daughter). The slow and minimal amount of “snow” makes this scene especially
beautiful. I think natural flower cotton was used, it looks similar to the white feathery fluff that comes off those little weeds kids like to blow.
– The rain pouring into Domenico’s shelter, the green and brown half-full bottle being rained on.
– The super green scene; Andrei’s monologue to that little girl.
– Domenico sets himself on fire, Andrei takes the lit candle across the pool and takes his final breath as he sets the candle down.
– The sound-track during the opening and end credits.
– Alexander’s monologue to The Lord about sacrifice and asceticism.
– The final 20 minutes, the house being set on fire. This is easily one of the greatest endings to any film I have ever seen.
Favourite stills (Don’t mind the quality, they are screen-shots of my PC):