Andrei Tarkovsky Season of Films

15 June 2016

The season, entitled Sculpting Time will take place in June, July and August and include all his films, starting chronologically with Ivan’s Childhood and ending with his final film The Sacrifice. All seven films will have English subtitles and are presented in brand new digital restorations as part of a nationwide tour.

The films and dates are:

Ivan’s Childhood (12A) screening from Sunday 19th – Tuesday 21st June

Andrei Rublev (15) screening from Sunday 3rd – Tuesday 5th July

Solaris (12A) screening from Sunday 17th – Tuesday 19th July

Mirror (U) screening from Sunday 31st July – Tuesday 2nd August

Stalker (PG) screening from Sunday 14th – Tuesday 16th August

Nostalgia (12A) screening from Sunday 21st – Tuesday 23rd August

The Sacrifice (12A) screening from Sunday 28th – Tuesday 30th August

Ivan’s Childhood, from 1962, follows a determined twelve year old boy named Ivan, who joins a Russian partisan regiment as a scout due to his uncanny ability to slip quickly through enemy lines undetected. But as his missions become increasingly dangerous he is pulled from duty, something which he is quick to protest against because Ivan has an ulterior motive – to avenge the death of his family at the hands of the Nazis. Andrei Tarkovsky’s first feature film is regarded as one of the most accomplished debuts in cinema and launched the career of the most influential and admired Russian filmmaker in history. 

Andrei Rublev, from 1966, is an epic historical drama charts the life of the 15th century icon painter. Andrei Rublev lives in a world consumed by feudal violence and human degradation, and the turmoil around him makes him lose the will to speak. After many years of silent travelling around medieval Russia, he meets a young boy who has taken charge of the construction of a large silver bell, and in him discovers the inspiration to speak again. Immediately suppressed upon release by the regime, Andrei Rublev is considered Tarkovsky’s first masterpiece.

Solaris, from 1972, is adapted from the 1968 novel by Stanislaw Lem, which Tarkovsky tackled in an attempt to find a popular cinematic subject. Donatas Banionis is a cosmonaut sent to investigate disappearances on the space station orbiting the planet Solaris, only to be confronted by the past in the vision of his dead wife, absorbingly played by Natalya Bondarchuk.  Tarkovsky presents the story as a dreamlike interrogation of faith, memory and the power of love. 

After the success of Solaris, Tarkovsky made one of his most personal films in the heavily autobiographical Mirror (1975). Reflecting upon his own childhood alongside the history of the Russian people, Tarkovsky creates a dreamscape layering memories of childhood with dreams and nightmares. A visual insight into the man and the artist, the film resonates with many film directors, placing No.9 in the 2012 Sight and Sound Greatest Films Of All Time Director’s Poll. 

Stalker, from 1979, is Tarkovsky’s second foray into science fiction an adaptation of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s ‘Roadside Picnic’, it is a surreal and disturbing vision of the future. Deep within ‘The Zone’, a bleak and devasted forbidden landscape, lies a mysterious room with the power to grant the deepest wishes of those strong enough to make the hazardous journey to get 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 they begin a dangerous trek into the unknown. 

Nostalgia, from 1983, is an abstract exploration of nostalgia, for a physical and cultural past both highly cerebral and beautifully realised. Andrei Gortchakov (Oleg Yankovsky), a Russian author on an Italian research expedition with his beautiful translator Eugenia (Domiziana Giordano). Gortchakov is retracing the journey of 18th century Russian composer named Sosnovsky who, despite achieving international recognition away from his homeland, eschewed fame and returned to the humble life of a feudal serf. In an ancient spa town, Gortchakov meets the lunatic Domenico, who had years earlier imprisoned his own family for seven years to save them from the evils of the world. Sensing some truth in his actions, Andrei is entranced. 

The Sacrifice, from 1986, is Tarkovsky’s final film which explores a deeply personal statement on humanity’s self-destruction and the end of the world. Starting on the precipice of World War III, the story is about Alexander, a journalist and former actor and philosopher who, on the outbreak of war, turns to God and offers himself up as a sacrifice to change the world and stop the war. The Sacrifice is a heart-breaking but ultimately reaffirming film about love, humanity and faith.