Close Up

18 November 2016: Nostalghia


Andrei Tarkovsky
1983 | 125 min | Colour and B/W | DCP

"I wanted the film to be about the fatal attachment of Russians to their national roots," Tarkovsky wrote of Nostalghia, his first production outside the Soviet Union. The story, co-written with frequent Antonioni collaborator Tonino Guerra, traces the alienation of a Soviet poet visiting Italian baths as part of his research on a long-deceased Russian composer. A film of stark symbols and mesmerizing long takes, Nostalghia’s nearly agonizing picture of personal loss is tempered by the painterly beauty of its compositions. Tarkovsky himself professed to be surprised at seeing how these images revealed "an exact reprint of my state of mind" during what was to be a permanent exile. "How could I have imagined," he later wrote, "that the stifling sense of longing that fills the screen space in that film was to become my lot for the rest of my life?" – Harvard Film Archive

Part of our season on Andrei Tarkovsky