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Andrei Tarkovsky (1932 – 1986)


Soviet and Russian filmmaker, writer, film editor, film theorist and opera director.
Andrei Tarkovsky
...art must must carry man's craving for the ideal, must be an expression of his reaching out towards it; that art must give man hope and faith. And the more hopeless the world in the artist's version, the more clearly perhaps must we see the ideal that stands in opposition - otherwise life becomes impossible! Art symbolises the meaning of our existence. (p192)
Tarkovsky quotes
[About Mirror] I had the greatest difficulty in explaining to people that there is no hidden, coded meaning in the film, nothing beyond the desire to tell the truth. Often my assurances provoked incredulity and even disappointment. Some people evidently wanted more: they needed arcane symbols, secret meanings. They were not accustomed to the poetics of the cinema image. And I was disappointed in my turn. Such was the reaction of the opposition party in the audience; as for my own colleagues, they launched a bitter attack on me, accusing me of immodesty, of wanting to make a film about myself. (p133)
Tarkovsky
Art is born and takes hold wherever there is a timeless and insatiable longing for the spiritual, fr the ideal: that longing which draws people to art. Modern art has taken the wrong turn in abandoning the search for the meaning of existence in order to affirm the value of the individual for his own sake. What purports to be art begins to looks like an eccentric occupation for suspect characters who maintain that any personalised action is of intrinsic value simply as a display of self-will. But in an artistic creation the personality does not assert itself it serves another, higher and communal idea. The artist is always the servant, and is perpetually trying to pay for the gift that has been given to him as if by a miracle. Modern man, however, does not want to make any sacrifice, even though true affirmation of the self can only be expressed in sacrifice. We are gradually forgetting about this, and at the same time, inevitably, losing all sense of human calling (p38)




Tarkovsky Andrei quotes
Objectivity can only be the author's and therefore subjective, even if he is editing a newsreel. (p150)
Tarkovsky Andrei
A book read by a thousand different people is a thousand different books. (p177)
Andrei Tarkovsky quotes
Perhaps the meaning of all human activity lies in the artistic consciousness, in the pointless and selfless creative act? Perhaps our capacity to create is evidence that we ourselves were created in the image and likeness of God? (p241)
Andrei Tarkovsky
The Stalker seems to be weak, but essentially it is he who is invincible because of his faith and his will to serve others.
Tarkovsky Andrei quotes
No one component of a film can have any meaning in isolation: it is the film that is the work of art. And we can only talk about its components rather arbitrarily, dividing it up artificially or the sake of theoretical discussion. (p114)
Tarkovsky
Modern mass culture, aimed at the 'consumer', the civilisation of prosthetics, is crippling people's souls, setting up barriers between man and the crucial questions of his existence, his consciousness of himself as a spiritual being. (p42)
Tarkovsky Andrei
What is the essence of the director's work? We could define it as sculpting in time. Just as a sculptor takes a lump of marble, and, inwardly conscious of the features of his finished piece, removes everything that is not a part of it - so the film-maker, from a 'lump of time' made up of an enormous, solid cluster of living facts, cuts off and discards whatever he does not need, leaving only what is to be an element of the finished film, what will prove to be integral to the cinematic image. (p63-4)
Andrei Tarkovsky
freedom is inseparable from conscience. And even if it is true that all the ideas developed by the social conciousness are the product of evoolution, conscience at least has nothing to do with the historic process. Conscience, both as a sense and as a concept, is a priori immanent in man, and shakes the very foundations of the society that has emerged from our ill-conceived civilisation. (p234)




Andrei Tarkovsky quotes
For me the most interesting characters are outwardly static, but inwardly charged by an overriding passion.
Andrei Tarkovsky
My function is to make whoever sees my films aware of his need to love and to give his love, and aware the beauty is summoning him. (p200)
Tarkovsky quotes
It seems to me that the individual today stands at a crossroads, faced with the choice of whether to pursue the existence of blind consumer, subject to the implacable march of new technology and the endless multiplication of material goods, or to seek out a new way that will lead to spiritual responsibility, a way that ultimately might mean not only his personal salvation but also the saving of society at large; in other words, to turn to God. (p218)
Tarkovsky Andrei
The whole concept of the avant-garde in art is meaningless. I can see what it means when applied to sport, for instance. But to apply it to art would be to accept the idea of progress in art; and though progress has an obvious place in technology - more perfect machines, capable of carrying out their functions better and more accurately - how can anyone be more advanced in art? How could Thomas Mann be said to be better than Shakespeare? (p97)
Tarkovsky Andrei quotes
Everything is conditioned by necessity of one kind or another; and if it were actually possible to find a person in conditions of total freedom, he would be like some deep water fish that had been dragged up to the surface. It's curious to reflect that Rublyov worked within the strictures of the canon! And the longer I live in the West the more curious and equivocal freedom seems to me. Freedom to take drugs? To kill? To commit suicide? (p180)
Andrei Tarkovsky
What is Bresson's genre? He doesn't have one. Bresson is Bresson. He is a genre in himself. Antonioni, Fellini, Bergman, Kurosawa, Dovzhenko, Vigo, Mizoguchi, Bunuel - each is identified with himself. The very concept of genre is as cold as the tomb. And is Chaplin - comedy? No: he is Chaplin, pure and simple; a unique phenomenon, never to be repeated. (p 150)
Andrei Tarkovsky quotes
The idea of infinity cannot be expressed in words or even described, but it can be apprehended through art, which makes infinity tangible. The absolute is only attainable through faith and in the creative act. (p39)
Andrei Tarkovsky
I am only interested in the views of two people: one is called Bresson and one called Bergman.
Tarkovsky Andrei
All of us are infected today with an extraordinary egoism. And that is not freedom; freedom means learning to demand only of oneself, not of life and others, and knowing how to give: sacrifice in the name of love. (p180)


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