As Russia celebrates the 80th birthday of Russian filmmaker Andrey Tarkovsky, a large exhibition dedicated to his work opened in Moscow. Join RT on a tour around the world of the country’s iconic director.
Every cut from his films is a marvelous image in itself – that is how the works of Andrey Tarkovsky were once described. He was a Soviet director whose films won acclaim in the West but faced heavy censorship at home.
The son of a poet, Tarkovsky was born in 1932. Making movies had not been his initial passion – he started out studying Arabic, but then dropped out to go on a year-long research expedition to Siberia. And it was during his time there that he decided to study film.
Tarkovsky became a director during the mid-1950s, when Soviet society, under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev, opened up to foreign films, literature and music. He was able to see works by Italian and French directors, and he especially loved Japanese movies.
The future director’s thesis, called The Steamroller and the Violin won a prize at the New York Film Festival. His first full-length feature film, Ivan’s Childhood, about the experiences of an orphaned boy during World War II, earned him the top award at the Venice Film Festival in 1962.
Tarkovsky’s films often grapple with metaphysical and spiritual themes, using a distinctive style. Long takes, slow pacing and metaphors are all central to his work.
Yet, despite international praise, his movies were censored at home. This bitterly disappointed Tarkovsky and eventually led to his decision to leave the USSR for good. He died in Paris in 1986, and it is only shortly before his death that his works received recognition in his home country.
The exhibition at Moscow’s Solyanka art gallery displays a collection of Tarkovsky’s personal belongings, drawings, notebooks, sketches and parts of movie sets that recreate the haunting and disturbing atmosphere of films like Stalker and Solaris. There are also screenings of all of his films as well as documentaries related to his life and work.
The show will last until the end of May, so there is plenty of time to discover everything about the man regarded as one of the finest filmmakers of the 20th century.
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