Close Up

7 November - 22 December 2017: Close-Up on Andrei Tarkovsky


"Andrei Tarkovsky belongs to that handful of filmmakers (Dreyer, Bresson, Vigo, Tati) who, with a small, concentrated body of work, created a universe. Though he made only seven features, thwarted by Soviet censors and then by cancer, each honoured his ambition to crash through the surface of ordinary life and find a larger spiritual meaning: to heal modern art's secular fragmentation by infusing it with metaphysical dimension. To that end he rejected Eisensteinian montage and developed a demanding, long-take aesthetic, which he thought better able to reveal the deeper truths underlying the ephemeral, performing moment." – Phillip Lopate

Ivan's Childhood
Andrei Tarkovsky
1962 | 96 min | B/W | DCP

Andrei Tarkovsky's debut feature Ivan's Childhood is an extraordinarily moving view of war and revenge. 12-year old Ivan is determined to avenge his family's death at the hands of the Nazis, and he joins a Russian partisan regiment as a scout. The wonderful monochrome photography depicts Ivan's war in a series of memorable sequences: from the opening shots of him creeping through a dead and submerged forest; the flashback to happier days by the seashore; his devastated home village, to the final sequences in the paper-strewn ruins of Berlin in 1945. read more

Andrei Rublev
Andrei Tarkovsky
1966 | 145 min | B/W | DCP

Immediately suppressed by the Soviets in 1966, Andrei Tarkovsky's epic masterpiece is a sweeping medieval tale of Russia's greatest icon painter. Widely regarded as Tarkovsky's finest film, Andrei Rublev charts the life of the painter through a turbulent period of 15th Century Russian history, which was marked by endless fighting between rival Princes and Tatar invasions. read more

Andrei Tarkovsky
1972 | 165 min | Colour | DCP

Released in 1972, Solaris is Andrei Tarkovsky's third feature and his most far-reaching examination of human perceptions and failings. Ground control has been receiving strange transmissions from the three remaining residents of the Solaris space station. When cosmonaut and psychologist Kris Kelvin is sent to investigate, he experiences the strange phenomena that afflict the Solaris crew, sending him on a voyage into the darkest recesses of his own consciousness. In Solaris, Andrei Tarkovsky creates a brilliantly original science-fiction epic that challenges our preconceived notions of love, truth, and humanity itself. read more

Andrei Tarkovsky
1974 | 102 min | Colour & B/W | DCP

Mirror is Andrei Tarkovsky's most autobiographical work in which he reflects upon his own childhood and the destiny of the Russian people. The film's many layers intertwine real life and family relationships – Tarkovsky's father, the poet Arseny Tarkovsky reads his own poems on the soundtrack and Tarkovsky's mother appears as herself – with memories of childhood, dreams and nightmares. From the opening sequence of a boy being cured of a stammer by hypnotism, to a scene in a printing works, which encapsulates the Stalinist era, Mirror has an extraordinary resonance and repays countless viewings. read more

Andrei Tarkovsky
1979 | 163 min | Colour & B/W | DCP

Deep within the Zone lies a mysterious room with the power to grant the deepest wishes of those strong enough to make the hazardous journey there. Desperate to reach it, a scientist and a writer approach the Stalker, one of the few able to navigate the Zone's menacing terrain, and begin a dangerous trek into the unknown. Hauntingly exploring man's dreams and desires, and the consequences of realising them, Stalker, adapted from Arkady & Boris Strugatsky's novel Roadside Picnic, has been described as one of the greatest science fiction films of all time. read more

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

Andrei Gorchakov is a misanthropic Russian scholar researching the life of an exiled Russian composer who committed suicide. With the help of guide, Eugenia, Andrei visits mystical and religious sites on the trail of the late composer’s legacy. In the shadow of the composer’s memory, Andrei finds himself crippled by a melancholy nostalgia for his Russian homeland, only to discover redemption in the form of a madman, Domenico. As in Mirror, Tarkovsky weaves a dense, meditative pattern of images – freely mixing past and present, dream and reality – with the scholar and the madman acting as allegorical players in a metaphysical trial by fire and water. read more

The Sacrifice
Andrei Tarkovsky
1986 | 149 min | Colour & B/W | DCP

To conclude our season we will present Tarkovsky's last visionary masterpiece The Sacrifice, which unfolds in the hours before a nuclear holocaust. Alexander, a retired actor, is celebrating his birthday with family and friends when a TV announcement warns of an imminent nuclear catastrophe. Alexander makes a promise to God that he will sacrifice all he holds dear, if the disaster can be averted. The next day dawns and, as if in a dream, everything is restored to normality. But Alexander must keep his vow. Among many other awards, The Sacrifice won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 1986, the same year that Tarkovsky died of cancer in Paris at the age of 54. read more