Thursday, September 13, 2012

Aimless Reading: The T's, Part 1 (Andrei Tarkovsky)

Sculpting in Time
Tarkovsky, Andrei
Sculpting in Time

I think I bought this online.

The first Tarkovsky film I saw was "Ivan's Childhood." At the time, the older translation of the title, "My Name is Ivan," still appeared on the box of the VHS version I rented from Kim's video in NYC. I think Dan Machlin had recommended it to me.

A couple of years later, a British poet, the late Alaric Sumner, visited Buffalo. I spent a day and a night hanging out with he and his partner, a dancer whose name I can't recall. We got to talking about movies and he asked if I had seen "Stalker." I had not, and I did not for another little while. Then one day I ran into it at Mondo Video and rented the VHS tape.

I watched it on the couch in my apartment with my classmate, Yunte Huang. I remember at the end of it feeling like I had just been through a major intellectual workout. I was tired. My head ached. At the same time, I felt like I had just seen something incredibly powerful, something I wasn't sure I understood.

The next film I watched was "Solars," which I didn't really get the first time through. It felt more like an essay than a film. I watched "Andrei Rublev" after that, which made Tarkovsky my favorite director almost instantly.

I think a few years passed before I saw "The Mirror" and "Sacrifice," and then a few more before I saw "Nostalghia," which I had to buy in order to see. I eventually saw everything he released. He's one of the few filmmakers I return to again and  again without ever feeling disappointed.

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