Introducing BlogalongaRusskie with Andrei Tarkovsky
To his fans, Andrei Tarkovsky is one of the greatest of all directors, a name to be revered in the kind of awestruck tones usually reserved for a pope or a pop star. Stanley Kubrick? Terence Malick? Michael Bay? Nobody comes close to Tarkovsky for the mystical fervour in which his name is spoken. He’s become a master of miserablism, a default ambassador for any movie made east of the old Iron Curtain, and the shorthand for Slooow Cinema.
All of which makes me look like a prize fool and cinematic charlatan, because I’ve only ever seen one Tarkovsky movie, his debut Ivan’s Childhood. Oh, and Steven Soderbergh’s remake of Solaris, if that counts. I taped several others off Film 4 in the early Noughties but never got around to watching them… and when the tracking went on my old VHS player, that was that.
Until now. Artificial Eye is kindly bringing out a box-set of all (seven) of his feature films – released on Monday 27th June – and even kinder they’ve sent me a copy. A daunting prospect, of course – can any man plunge headfirst into Tarkovsky’s cinema in one go? No: Andrei took his time, and so must I.
So here’s the deal. I’m going to watch one film a month, in the vein of The Incredible Suit’s BlogalongaBond project. Yes, yes, I know. He’s offering 007: babes, gadgets and ironically raised eyebrows. I’ve got nothing but enigmatic glances, inscrutable narratives and 10-minute takes of the Russian steppes.
If you fancy joining in, here’s the schedule:
– JUNE: Ivan’s Childhood (1962) – review now online
– JULY: Andrei Rublev (1966)
– AUGUST: Solaris (1972)
– SEPTEMBER: Mirror (1975)
– OCTOBER: Stalker (1979)
– NOVEMBER: Nostalgia (1983)
– DECEMBER: The Sacrifice (1986)
If you don’t fancy that, BlogalongaBond is up to George Lazenby.
The Andrei Tarkovsky Collection is released by Artificial Eye on Monday 27th June. Thanks to Organic Marketing for the screeners.