My 7 Dinners With Andrei #6: Nostalghia

maxresdefaultWords are very unnecessary.

After some time away from the Andrei Tarkovsky saddle, I am back, and ready for another experience of sculpting time with a movie containing a title that could be applied to everything this director did. We start off with a man and a woman, traveling companions who clearly are not too fond of each other, going into the mist. The latter, Eugenia, stops into a church she passes along the way but refuses to get down on her knees and begin to pray, and the preacher knows she is not going to stay once she begins asking questions while the local women being praying to their holy mother and releasing a storm of birds in a scene that is genuinely alarming. Just as spooky in a way that cannot be pinned so easily is the scene where we find out just how many Andreis are involved, ranging from the director to the male protagonist writer to a poet that Eugenia is currently reading in a translated version, not to mention the past trilogy of Rublevs, and all of whom seem pretty down on things, with the most cheerful characters in Nostalghia being the dogs and an elderly landlady who comes across as quite a bother to our twosome in her perkiness disrupting the mood. An exodus at a sauna may relax the bodies of the quieter people with more mortal concerns, but all the Andreis want nothing more than to find some idea of transcendence. Yet a pool is exactly what they need in order to get that, with water once again as the source of life, both physical in the form of cells and mental in the form of creativity.

I think the push and pull between the men in this particular work of art worked better for me than in Stalker. No ridiculousness of throwing bags to test gravity within the Zone, for it is acknowledged that at least half of this partnership is mad. The dour attitude feels human, as opposed to simply having depression for lacking creativity in a world that is borderline apocalyptic. Still, how many other directors can make a shot of rain falling on battles into magic, simply by moving up to them and slowly zooming in for a little while? Not to mention that absolutely deranged final shot, a meditation time’s passing that never feels like a waste of it, and worth watching a seven hour version for.

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