January 3, 2013

Andrei Tarkovsky on Directing: 'Sacrifice Yourself for Cinema'

If you're not familiar with his name, there is a good chance that he's influenced some of your favorite directors currently working today. Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky (Stalker, The Mirror, Solaris), who made most of his films during the Cold War era in the Soviet Union, has contributed quite a bit on the practical and theoretical aspects of cinema. In this clip below from Voyage in Time, Tarkovsky gives some advice to up-and-coming filmmakers, specifically about sacrificing yourself for cinema and being morally responsible about what you're making. We've also got two of his earliest films below, which he made during his time at film school.

It's really interesting that he says anyone can go make a film, considering this was the early 1980s. If that was the case then, it's certainly far more the case now, because the tools of production have come way down in price. His attitude that anyone can learn the mechanics is absolutely true, just like anyone can learn to ride a bike or drive a car. The actual act of filmmaking is just about organization and knowing the mechanics of the machinery you're working with, but when it comes to the art of filmmaking, there are a lot more variables and intangibles.

Tarkovsky is certainly on the extreme end with his views on what it takes to be a director. He's certainly not a guy who would have sold himself out just to survive, filmmaking was his life. A recent post from Philip Bloom details the opposite end of the spectrum, that work should not be life, and we should really look at our priorities as creatives. It's definitely interesting either way to see what it takes to be at the top of your game the way Tarkovsky was -- especially since he died of cancer likely related to the conditions around the filming of Stalker -- though he was looking to break the boundaries of what cinema could be as art, which is certainly not everyone's goal. Some just want to tell interesting or entertaining stories.

Two of his earliest works are embedded below, which he co-directed as a student at the All-Union State Cinema Institute, or VGIK. To read more about both of them and learn more about his earlier years, head on over to Open Culture.

The Killers -- 1956

There Will Be No Leave Today -- 1958

I might have a personal bias in that the films of Tarkovsky are some of my favorites -- especially Stalker and The Mirror -- but I think if you're interested in being a director just like the way a painter paints and a musician plays (as he says above), it's worth checking out Voyage in Time and reading the book he wrote on film theory, Sculpting In Time.

What do you guys think about his words on filmmaking? Is this something you follow in your own life, or do you take a more moderate approach? If you're a fan of his, which films of his do you think have influenced the way you look at cinema the most?

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78 Comments

It makes me extremely happy to see Tarkovsky getting some love on NoFilmSchool, as he is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, and one of my personal favorites. Great post, Joe!

January 3, 2013

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Yeah, he probably should get more love than he has so far.

January 3, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Loving the film school-Keep up the great work.
Thanks.

January 10, 2013

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Bill kinzie

Indeed, one of the only film makers from the previous century that i consider to be on-par with my own talents, which doesn't make me feel like such an isolated genius. just being honest.

January 21, 2013

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nick

I second Robert on this one. Tarkovsky is a unique person with a unique vision, and we should all learn from him. Thanks for this post!

January 3, 2013

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Daniel Salazar

I also recommend Kieslowski. Another great visionary!

January 3, 2013

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Daniel Salazar

Andrei Rublev, check out the opening scene, ...changed my way thinking, .....

January 3, 2013

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I love these little spotlights you do on great, under appreciated directors (although I think Tarkovsky is more discussed than watched sometimes).

I have tried to read his Sculpting in Time book on numerous occasions but have never managed to get more than half way through. I don't know if it is the specific translation that I have but the thing is un-readable. Very poorly written (or translated) in my opinion. In any case, the films are simply breathtaking. One of the strongest emotional reactions I have ever had to a movie was due to The Mirror, and I can't think of a more subtle and lyrical exploration of faith (religious and artistic) than Andrei Rublev.

There is a beautiful essay/profile on his career over at senses of cinema and Chris Marker (another woefully overlooked filmmaker) made a very touching documentary about Tarkovsky called One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich which anyone interesting in Tarkovsky should check out: http://sensesofcinema.com/2002/great-directors/tarkovsky/
http://blip.tv/chris-marker/one-day-in-the-life-of-andrei-ansenevich-417...

January 3, 2013

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Mak

i would bet it is a poor translation. The portuguese version is an amazing book. His ideas on filmmaking, why he doesn´t like much slow motion, his beliefs that the author of a movie should be the director, not the producer nor the writer -but how the writer and the director have to create a resonance so the screenplay is alive during the shooting, open to changes. Also his view on world, our excess of "I am" thoughts in art, music, etc... he compares it with daoist music (like guqin). The solutions he developed for his films also is a great part of the book. It´s well written (or the brazillian translator is more a trans-creator than simple a translator! :D).

January 3, 2013

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guto novo

Yeah. "Un-readable" was a bit strong, it wasn't that bad, and I was also quite young when I tried to read it first. I will give it another shot at some point. His philosophy of filmmakers making personal films has been something that has always stuck with me; hope I get a chance to practice it one day. I see that you've mentioned John Cassavetes and Glauber Rocha in some of your comments below. Cassavetes is another one of my all time heroes. Those guys mad the word 'independent' really mean something. Really! Rather than just a marketing ploy some off-shoot of a massive studio slaps onto a multi-million dollar star vehicle to make it appeal to "hipsters".

January 4, 2013

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Mak

If you're looking for a helping hand to get into Sculpting in Time you might want to skip straight to the conclusion. That final chapter (if your translation is up to it) is quite profound and even though you might not agree with some/all it'll give you an insight to the man (or at least who you think he might be) which'll make attacking the rest of it a bit more enjoyable. That's my two-cents anyway. Enjoy!

January 4, 2013

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Simon

Thanks. I'll try that out.

January 4, 2013

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Mak

yep. cassavetes is a legend! few made films about the dispair of love as he did! :)

about glauber, you may like, if you did not watch it yet, this vid of scorsese talking his views about glauber´s cinema.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2w233bAwgY

glauber was a total freak! :D he used to do the montage of his films naked in front of the moviola! :D once he went to a political gathering in Uruguai with brazillian social scientist Darcy Ribeiro, and started to smoke a joint in front of all politicians from uruguai! :D :D :D a crazy and amazing, as you said, truly independent filmmaker.

another crazy 'underground' brazillian filmmaker that you may like is Rogério Sganzerla. His "bandido da luz vermelha" is a masterpiece of experimental (but with a story :D) cinema too. It´s full @ youtube (and i think it´s ok, even his wife, since he is dead, said it´s ok to spread his movies) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfUpwNO0KCg

January 4, 2013

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guto novo

Sounds like a fun guy. That Scorsese interview was great. I've been wanting to explore Rocha's films for a while now. I will check out Rogério Sganzerla too, first time I've heard of him. Cheers.

January 4, 2013

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Mak

January 3, 2013

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Puncher

In a fast changing world where the tools of production and distribution are becoming accessible to everyone, I pray we take heed of Tarkovsky's advice, and be morally conscious of the works we produce.

January 3, 2013

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Dimitri

http://www.ex.ua/load/19794405 - "the mirror"
Not sure if this link will work outside of Ukraine...

January 3, 2013

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mike

I think what he is saying is more true now than ever. "You should belong to cinema, cinema shouldn't belong to you." Advancing film as an art is a long lost interest, as far as what makes the screens. Filmmakers priorities have been stagnant at surface level interests. Nepotism and capitalism have highjacked the medium to where cinema is now a routine copy of a copy of a copy.

The obsessions with constantly updated technology seem to create new, superficial bars / interests regarding the world's expectations.

January 3, 2013

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I love his book! Worthwhile to read, although i found it sometimes a bit demotivating - as much as Tarkovskij demands from himself, that much he demands from the aspiring filmmaker who reads the book. But that again is good on the other hand...forces you to think about what you're doing and what you want to achieve with your work

January 3, 2013

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Al

yep. art is a form of religion for him. an act of religare, to reconnect his consciousness to it´s root, whatever it is.

maybe that´s why even not being religious he had such a respect for eastern religions and russian ortodox christianity. As a non-believer, his movies and books, among other things, always teach me to respect other people conceptual maps in search for the root of consciouness, even if i don´t believe or trust them. That´s just one of the many insights his movies gave to me. :)

January 3, 2013

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guto novo

"If you’re not familiar with his name..."

I would hope (and almost expect) that no one reading this blog comes under that description.

January 3, 2013

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Fresno Bob

naw, that'd be elitist

January 3, 2013

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brett

Well that doesn't make much sense now does it

January 4, 2013

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Fresno Bob

snobbery is a form of elitism; you're discriminating according to knowledge. You expect certain knowledge of people here so it's an implicit exclusivity.

What if this is the first port of call for some working class kid who grew up on multiplex fair and never chanced upon the European masters.

January 4, 2013

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brett

Wow, equally surprised and happy to see Tarkovsky getting love here including Sculpting in Time - a must read for filmmakers. I just have in my hands the blu-ray of Offret (The Sacrifice). Let's hope more of his films get blu-ray treatment especially Stalker, Mirror, Nostalghia.

If you are a fan and have not visited the complete Tarkovsky site, do so NOW http://people.ucalgary.ca/~tstronds/nostalghia.com/

January 3, 2013

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I worship andrei tarkovsky! he is another cinema god

January 3, 2013

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THADON CALICO

"I might have a personal bias in that the films of Tarkovsky are some of my favorites — especially Stalker and The Mirror"

it´s now almost impossible to not love Mr. Marine! :D

I have to agree with master Ingmar bergman, cinema is powerfull not when it´s close to reality (as most think it should be these days: close to reality and a 'ride'), but when it is close to the language of dreams and poetry, and as Bergman said, because of that Tarkovski is probably the greatest among the greatest ones. of course it´s the opinion in the realm of my personal reality tunnel! ;)

January 3, 2013

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guto novo

Tarkovskij is a fucking moron. I have spend two years in university studying his films and wrote several term papers, especially on "the Mirror". Of course I was fascinated by his films at first, and all the endless ways of interpretation. I spend long nights in the library studying the secondary literature on his work, because I was not allowed to take the books home.

His films are full of empty philosophical allegories that have nothing to say. In "The mirror" he uses his suppressed psychological conflicts and combines them with philosophical theories, and thus wants to elevate both to a trascendental unity. If this is art than every moron in a rehab who reads philosophy must be considered a true artist and an intellectual.

His filmmaking is clumsy and uninspiring. Long static shots, where nothing happens. In the mirror, a woman sits on the fence for 2 minutes and the off-voice recites a poem. I could write such a poem in 2 minutes and film such a scene in 5 minutes, no big deal.

All those pseudo intellectual filmmakers like Antonioni and Tarkowskij had a great reputation for being extremely moody and very difficult to work with, that why nobody wanted to work with them and they had always trouble finding investors, because obviously it is very hard to find someone who invest millions into your little freudian phantasies and your exploration of your past (thats what the mirror is about).

Actually the title of your article is very funny because that is what Tarkowskij did, literary. He died with 50 because of a brain tumor or cancer, I forgot what it was. And that because when he was filming Stalker,they filmed in the area of a leaking nuclear reactor. And of course Tarkowskij needed endless tries to compose his stupid boring meaningless shots. That why the actor of Stalker also dies with 40+ something. His stupid eccentricity killed himself and other people and now he wants to give young filmmakers advice, to loose yourself in cinema. Look at Stalker nowadas, and ask yourself, would your really sacrifice yourself for such a meaningless film that pretends to ask big philosophical questions.

A few years ago I visited with my professors a symposium and we got introduced to Jost Vacano, the famous DP who shot the famous german classic "Das Boot" - "The Boat" (nominated for 6 Oscars).
My professors really had his intellectual way of approaching the film and he told the DP how fascinated he was about a particular shot where the camera was on the floor looking up to the main character (like in Citizen Kane) and he became really intellectual about what the meaning of this shot had to be. The DP just looked at him, like he was from a different species and just replied. "No, the camera was put there because there was no room to put it somewhere else..."
When this professor gives his lectures, he always tells the students the same intellectual crap he told the DP, although he was corrected by the DP. That means, like also in Tarkowskijy case, stupidity always prevails.

January 3, 2013

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Frederik O.

Don't you think 'f*****g moron' might just be a bit strong Mr. Frederik.O?
Perhaps you were looking in the mirror when you wrote this ill informed and inarticulate nonsense.
If you could write "such a poem in 2 minutes" and "such a film in 5 minutes, no big deal", then perhaps you are wasting your 'talent' by committing your verbal diarrhea to No Film School!

January 3, 2013

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Derek Hudson

How many books have you read on Tarkowskij?
I just said that everybody could film such a SCENE (not the entire movie in 5 minutes). Here is a short film by a 14 year old female "filmmaker", ironically also called "Stalker", shot with her 14 year old friend. Just like a clumsy Tarkowsij film and she is only 14.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyfxfdvQsrg

Havent't your read his great masterpiece book? He argues that the audience needs to feel the time passing through the hands of the character and thats why you can set up such long boring 2 minute shots where nothing happens. Yes, consult his great book and than try to shot a movie nowadays and when the producer, or the DP or the Cutter ask you, why the shot needs to be so long because nothing happens, then you can recite the great info from Tarkowskijs book. I guess the producer agrees, that the right way to spend millions of dollar. Hoopefully its not your money.

January 3, 2013

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Frederik O.

Just to give my thoughts on one of the long takes. They not only give me time to get my head around what's been said, but also to develop my own thoughts. A lot of ideas have come watching those long takes and whether that effect was in their heads at all when they were filming I can't say but I find if you're in the right mood it can be great.

It's a clumsy contrast since the two are almost incomparable but just to simplify the point; those long takes are a very nice alternative to the shot progression of modern Hollywood-style films which tell the story brilliantly but leave very little for audience input. I'm no expert but I tend to think that any medium that can project and inspire creative thought leans itself more toward art, which thankfully is almost entirely subjective (and which makes critique like both of ours almost certainly false!).

January 4, 2013

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Simon

I have indeed read his book "Sculpting in Time" shortly after photographing him in Paris where I live. Should you care to refresh your memory a PDF can be downloaded at: http://tinyurl.com/alwqwwq
As for making a comparison between the 14yr old German of your YouTube link (which by the way is not called 'Stalker' but S.Talker, name of the creator, and the film is called Kurzfilm which means short film) you make me laugh out loud. With all due respect to the 14yr old I beg to question how you can possibly confuse the mastery of Tarkovsky in say The Mirror and the efforts of a young filmmaker.
No matter, we all thankfully have our own thoughts on what is inspirational and what is not. I'll stick with Andrei Tarkovsky and let you get on with whatever it is that drives you.
Take care.

January 4, 2013

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Derek Hudson

you are right, blow up from antonioni is a movie anyone could have shot! everyone except me. ;)

a great article about tarkovski and boredom: http://almostnot.wordpress.com/2009/01/22/tarkovsky-and-boredom/

but i don´t think we can label tarkoviski filmmaking clumsy, the guy did some of the most simbolic mis-en-scene in his static shots and some intricated camera movement also, plus a great use of light.

"My professors really had his intellectual way of approaching the film and he told the DP how fascinated he was about a particular shot where the camera was on the floor looking up to the main character (like in Citizen Kane) and he became really intellectual about what the meaning of this shot had to be. The DP just looked at him, like he was from a different species and just replied. “No, the camera was put there because there was no room to put it somewhere else…”"

sometimes the meaning of a sequence and shots in thar sequence is not set during shooting, but in the montage/editing process, so maybe your teacher asked the wrong person! :D :P

"When this professor gives his lectures, he always tells the students the same intellectual crap he told the DP, although he was corrected by the DP. That means, like also in Tarkowskijy case, stupidity always prevails."

if you read his book you know that in the case of tarkovsky, the 'intellectual crap' is there since the start, like kubrick, bergman, bunuel, he used to think and to rethink his concepts a lot before shooting.

but if his movies are a bore for you, that´s ok too! :)

and pardon my bad english. :)

January 3, 2013

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guto novo

No enlightening thought on Ozu, Godard or Tsai Ming-liang?

January 10, 2013

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Thank you Joe Marine for posting this piece on Tarkovsky. It is refreshing to see that NoFilmSchool is equally capable of talking about some of the truly great masters of the genre. Andrei Tarkovsky's work is well worth studying for any aspiring film maker for a multitude of reasons though obviously above the understanding of some of your readers, n'est ce pas Frederik.O.

January 3, 2013

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Derek Hudson

OK, then please give me an advice from his great masterpiece book, that you can apply nowadays in the film business. I bet you haven't even read it.

January 3, 2013

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Frederik O.

" that you can apply nowadays in the film business"

maybe that is the problem, Frederik, you see it as film business first, not art. From a business point of view, tarkovski was a big scary flop. But from the art of filmmaking he is a master.

Art not always have to be in love with business. That is the tragedy of cinema, from tarkovski point of view, since to make business, you must deliver what the audience want, you can´t challenge them too much, you can´t be 100% faithfull to your vision, even more if your inner vision is so unique.

In the end maybe pythagoras was right when he said art should not mix with entertainment.
As degas also said, art is not what you see, but what new thing you made the other see.

so for audiences that want art just for fun, to pass time, to get away from their daily lifes, etc, filmmakers as bergman, bunuel, tarkovski, kielovski, bresson, yasujiro ozu, etc, are not the best call.

but there´s people in the world that like art that chalenge them, art that bring new visions (not right or wrong), but other ways of seeing and thinking the patterns that make our perception of collective reality. For those, who like to watch and to make such kind of art, his book has plenty of advices you can apply in the art of filmmaking. But i agree, nothing there you can apply to the business of making films to generate profits.

Also, today, with equipament costing so low, it´s even less harder (for some, not for you, of course, since you can write a masterpiece poetry faster than arseni tarkoviski, or his son, andrei) to shoot art films, with personal inner visions that don´t have to compromise itself for the sake of film business.

and if the deal is to just make money, corporate videos, or even being an investor in stocks is a better bet than shooting movies! ;)

sorry for your tarkovskian trauma! :)

January 3, 2013

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guto novo

That's right, filmmaking is a business.

If you study music, every great composer becomes as genius in you eyes. Then after some years you learn to differentiate between different levels of talent. You realize that Mozart was a true artist and genius and that Antonio Salieri is average (for that time) to say the least. You realize that Beethoven is a true artist and Anton Bruckner (with his stupid elephant trumpets, completely overused) is several level below.

In this way (concerning filmmaking) you learn that there are true masters like Hitchcocke and lesser gifted individuals like Tarkowskij. There was never a real separation between entertainment and art!!!!!!
All Hitchcock movies (and ok "Blow up" in this sense also) are exciting entertainment but have and intellectual sublayer accessible for scholars. Basically a professor and a metal worker can watch his films and everybody is satisfied on different levels.

Filmmakers like Tarkowskij are completely overrated because they have nothing so say (consult the link that you posted where the author confesses that there is no story in this films). And if you cannot express yourself, if there is no logical communication between the film and the audience, then it is the filmmakers mistake. Art and entertainment can be basically the same. Hitchcock and Kubrick are a testament for that. Eyes Wide Shut was a commercial success and is a great piece of art.

I know a professor for art history that came into a lecture and asked the students to analyze a "painting" where everything was a mess, no clear structure, no coherent composition. Then of course the students employed their theoretical framework and categorized it as modern (the time of Picasso) and explained it had an eerie yet liberating overtone. Then the professor revealed that his 5 year old daughter did it this morning at the breakfast table.

If you spend some time at university, studying these things, you learn that the interpretation of a film or painting or music tells you more about the interpreter then the actual work.

January 3, 2013

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Frederik O.

"Filmmakers like Tarkowskij are completely overrated because they have nothing so say (consult the link that you posted where the author confesses that there is no story in this films). And if you cannot express yourself, if there is no logical communication between the film and the audience, then it is the filmmakers mistake. "

you don´t need a story to evoke fellings and ideas. Also you don´t need logical communication between the film and the audience to evoke ideas too -or bunnuel, dulac, svankmajer, jodorowsky can´t be considered great visionaries.

surrealism is all about going ilogical to reach the unconscious/subconscious mind.

also, remembering Kant philosophy, there is the numenic and phenomenic reality... the phenomenic you can tap with logical discourse, but the numenic not.

so if you think filmmaking have to be logical, even 2001 from kubrick is bad filmmaking, as bunuel (considered the ultimate master by hitchcock), and all great surrealist filmmakers too.

so, if Tarkoviski has nothing to say to you. be it. not everybody has something for everyone. that´s the beauty of life. Stick with those that have something that move you. :)

"Hitchcock and Kubrick are a testament for that. Eyes Wide Shut was a commercial success and is a great piece of art."

agree. But keep in mind that comercial cinema, the business thing, is a machine that eats up theaters for the majors. So we can´t compare, it´s even unfair, the reach of an art film made under a major, as kubrick could do, with an art film made outside a north american major.

a simple example, here in brazil, local films fight a lot to go to the screens, why? because the north american majors rule it. Last month it was pathetic! 70% of the theaters were showing Skyfall, 25% showing the last twilight movie, and it´s also in other countries like this too (except france). It´s a business machine, and as all corporate endeavours these days, it goes and eat all, for the good and the bad! :D

Also, Kubrick was a clever man. He knew how to use the advertising machine. So if you want to compare the quality of a film using box office, using quantity as quality, we will have to say Citzen Kane, or Zodiac from Fincher are bad movies too? ;)

"Then the professor revealed that his 5 year old daughter did it this morning at the breakfast table."

Art is not made to be analized only. All can be analized. And to over analize something can cloud your perception. Probably the case with these students. :)

Art, It´s made to be felt. To resonate things inside you. To make, sometimes, you trancend your limitations, to make you grow inside, to expand.

For me Tarkovski does that. For you he is just a retarded with a camera! :) He moves me. He does not move you. That´s the beauty of life: we are different, so we need different stuff. :)

who are the filmmakers that chalenge you? :)

January 3, 2013

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guto novo

Answer to guto novo

Last month it was pathetic! 70% of the theaters were showing Skyfall, 25% showing the last twilight movie, and it´s also in other countries like this too (except france).

What do you expect??? For a 300 million blockbuster, 150 million go into marketing and promotion. Of course you see them everywhere.

Art, It´s made to be felt. To resonate things inside you. To make, sometimes, you trancend your limitations, to make you grow inside, to expand.

Ok, I can give you the same feelings by submitting the business card of my dope dealer.

who are the filmmakers that chalenge you? :)

I loved Tarkowskij, Bunuel Passolini,Bergman and all those freaks. But after my maturation process I realized that nobody wants to see such films, that they have nothing to say (of course not Bergman or passolini). Today I admire Filmmakers like Michael Bay, who manage to pull off a complex logistical undertaking and creates cinematic images that have never been seen before.

January 3, 2013

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Frederik O.

Frederik, you would you lose your bet. (see my previous reply)

There is no one piece of advice to be gleaned from Tarkovsky's writings. It is the collective sum of what he has done his best to explain of his own process of film making that is of interest, to me at least.
Today's 'business' is simply unrecognisable to the era of Tarkovsky and his peers so by that token one cannot draw upon their Soviet era work and apply it to how the movies are made today.

Personally I don't make movies for a living but for the enjoyment of my art and in this endeavor masters of cinema of all eras are of interest to me. You find the pregnant pauses of inaction boring. I don't and so there we must agree to disagree.

January 4, 2013

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Derek Hudson

In the video... are they eating the watermelon seeds? Was just waiting for someone to spit one out, or carve them out with a knife or whatever.

Whether directing is an art like poetry or music... Well, sure. Anything can be an art. Washing the dishes can be an art.

But I think "directing" is also an ambiguous term. Everyone has a different style. Altman once said that the director is the only person on the set who's dispensable; hire a good 1st AD and a good DOP, and they'll make the film for you. -- If you're on a set, and people are asking you a million questions every day, there's an illusion of control, an illusion that you're necessary; but in reality, if the script and castings are right, and everyone who's asking questions simply makes the decision for themselves, the movie won't necessarily turn out badly.

January 3, 2013

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"Washing the dishes can be an art."

That right everybody can be an artist.

I find this video funny because Tarkowskij is talking about all those superficial things and the other guy seems really disinterested to get a private lecture from Tarkowskij on filmmaking.

January 3, 2013

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Frederik O.

" If you’re on a set, and people are asking you a million questions every day, there’s an illusion of control, an illusion that you’re necessary;"

This is extremely funny because it is so true. In the area in which Tarkowstij shot "Stalker" the director and his actors were exposed to radiation and imagine the famous director, eating his watermelon seed (extremely bad for digestion), and screaming at his actor "no that not good, I want it again, I don't care if we get contaminated". Which he really did.

Here is a great link to a docu about the making of of Tarkowskijs last film "offret". It is extremely funny because he is so unprofessional and he screams and gets an terrible breakdown towards the end when the famous DP Sven Nykvist (who was the DP for a lot of Ingmar Bergman movies) fucks up the most expensive shot of the movie, the burning down of the house. Please take a look at it. Because it was not filmed in one take, Tarkowskij gets really furious and it looks like he is crying like a child. Then he says that they need to rebuild the whole house and the shot must be done again. After a fight with his producer and his production company they do everything again. Consider that. You have filmed the most complex scene of the film but is has two takes and the director says, no everything again, I won't release the movie, everything must be in one take.

In this day an age they would take Tarkowskij off the set (Security please) and hire another director to finish the movie. His documentation is a real good example for a completely unprofessional director. I bet Sven Nykvist would like to see him in a cage. There he can eat his melon seeds.

January 3, 2013

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Frederik O.

Oh, here is the link that I promised. A must watch for all Tarkowskij fans. And great and funny entertainment for all other people.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quoWpNljHRU

January 3, 2013

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Frederik O.

" Because it was not filmed in one take, Tarkowskij gets really furious and it looks like he is crying like a child."

yep. he had the cancer you like to talk about. he knew it was bad and he was going to die pretty soon out of it. He knew it was he last movie ever and for some weird evil reason such things affect him big time. :)

we can also talk about how son of bitch Kubrick was with some of his actors too. :)

or how a hero of business filmmaking, Michael Bay, is when dealing with some of his team too. ;)

you made your hate of tarkovski a very personal thing. Almost funny! :) Like you have to wake us all up against his bad art! :) It makes me think about Jung´s concept of "shadow projection". Maybe are you projecting your shadow over him?

January 3, 2013

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guto novo

It makes me think about Jung´s concept of “shadow projection”. Maybe are you projecting your shadow over him?

I don't know how old you are but hopefully some day you will realized that everything in life changes, you start to see through things, through illusions, your taste changes and you dislike other things. Thats a normal maturation process. Just because you believed in the santa when you were a child doe not mean that you keep defending his illusion for the rest of your life.

I just found it funny, all those people, who never read a book about tarkowskij, saw some of his films, and talk about a liberating artistic experience like you, like they were on dope, or like the preacher of a cult was speaking to them.

January 3, 2013

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Frederik O.

"I just found it funny, all those people, who never read a book about tarkowskij, saw some of his films, and talk about a liberating artistic experience like you, like they were on dope, or like the preacher of a cult was speaking to them."

so if i don´t agree with you it means i never read a book about him? means I don´t know about the subject I like? means I just watch a couple of his movies? So those who don´t agree with your view are inferior?

so if a person don´t agree with you it is because the person is not as educated and bright as you are?

this is your maturation process?

Again, you have your 'reality tunnel' where tarkovski is a retarded filmmaker. It´s ok. But to like his movies make me inferior? is a proof i don´t read about him? that i don´t have his father´s poems in my shelf? etc, etc?

January 3, 2013

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guto novo

or how a hero of business filmmaking, Michael Bay, is when dealing with some of his team too. ;)

Well if a shooting day cost him 300.000 dollar then he would be an idiot when he weren't streaming all the time. With 300 million dollar production cost, I guess it is ok to raise you voice from time to time.

January 3, 2013

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Frederik O.

" With 300 million dollar production cost, I guess it is ok to raise you voice from time to time."

right. make sense.

but in tarkovski case, the fact he was dying of cancer and he knew it is not ok to loose his temper? Of course not! money is more important! ;)

also it´s not ok for him wanting all in one take? It´s part of his way of filmming to not overuse editing, actually, to use the montage only when it is imposible to avoid. It´s a personal choice. You don´t like. It´s ok. But those who like his movies dig it. :) Again it´s a great and vast world and divergence is good. You don´t need to like tarkovski, the retarded one, but can I like him and not be classified as inferior by you? Please? :)

January 3, 2013

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guto novo

I never said that you are inferior, I just explained my experience with this director :-)

January 3, 2013

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Frederik O.

Sorry guto novo. I didn't meant to disrespect you. I had so much funny incidents where the aura of an piece of art was dismantled in minutes that every time it give my a laughing flash when I read about such comments. Sorry again.I didn't meant to disrespect you

January 3, 2013

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Frederik O.

Frederik, Guto is right. Your insistence on trying to convince everyone that Tarkovsky is some kind of fluke is not only a waste of our time, but it's a waste of yours. Clearly his movies fall into the category of "not for everybody" and it's twice as clear that you're one of the people that they don't appeal to. We get it, you don't like Tarkovsky. Now move on with your life.

January 3, 2013

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I just posted my opinion on this site, I rarely post anything, and then I gave answers to the comments because if somebody talks to you, even via internet, I heard it would be disrespectful if I don't reply.

Thank you for addressing nothing.

January 3, 2013

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Frederik O.

It's also disrespectful to be disrespectful, and starting out with "Tarkovsky is a fucking moron" very clearly falls into the disrespectful category. All I'm saying is that you've made your opinion very clear, multiple times in fact, and you've it in a very personal and demeaning way.

I'm all for hearing other people's opinions, and you're absolutely free to share yours (that's what makes the internet great), but try to keep it to civil criticism rather than slander.

I apologize for being rude, but I think it's great what Joe has done with this article, in that he's introduced a lesser-known, but important, filmmaker to a new generation of filmmakers who probably wouldn't have heard of him otherwise. And I think it's even more important that he's introduced the idea that it's paramount to think about the work that you are putting out into the world, because very few young filmmakers do, I'm sad to say.

January 3, 2013

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Dear Robert!!!

Go and eat your melon seed :-) haha

January 3, 2013

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Frederik O.

Robert Hardy aka the police bot of the forum.

January 3, 2013

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Frederik O.

When did it become frowned upon to ask someone to be polite?

January 4, 2013

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Robert

thanks robert. But for me was kind of cool to think about all I love about his movies and also to learn Frederik once liked pasolini, bergman, bunuel, 'the freaks', as he called them, and that today he likes Michael Bay for his capacit of taking complex logistical undertaking creating cinematic images never seen before.

It makes me think about what Geoffrey said "Advancing film as an art is a long lost interest, as far as what makes the screens. Filmmakers priorities have been stagnant at surface level interests. Nepotism and capitalism have highjacked the medium to where cinema is now a routine copy of a copy of a copy. The obsessions with constantly updated technology seem to create new, superficial bars / interests regarding the world’s expectations."

That´s why I like the principle of this site and the real revolution digital tools bring to the table: it´s cheaper than ever to make a great movie about human relationship in the independent principle that guided great filmmakers like John Cassavetes than ever before.

So if the cinema, as business, is about sensory overload and 'rides', the art side of the stuff can go where Francis Coppola said once: to the garage, becoming a true independent form of art.

Or as one of the most unique and 'freak' underground filmmakers in Brazil, Carlos Reichenbach, used to say, "my ideal of cinema is that made in home with friends". And the stuff that is covered here (not the too expensive ones) are a proof that digital tools, from DSLR to cameras as BMDCC, would be a dream for people as Cassavetes and today the great Hal Hartley, or in brazil, people as Reinchenbach, Glauber Rocha, andrea tonacci, or even the father of independent cinema, Orson Welles (when out of hollywood), or Tarkoviski, Pasolini, you know, the 'freaks', those that, remembering the famous phrase from the tod browning´s movie, are, at least in intentions, 'one of us" :D

January 3, 2013

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guto novo

That´s why I like the principle of this site and the real revolution digital tools bring to the table: it´s cheaper than ever to make a great movie about human relationship in the independent principle that guided great filmmakers like John Cassavetes than ever before.

I agree with that. I real like the Red Scarlet short film shot by the guy from cinema5d.com, about the couple
breaking up in a forest.
I hope you have seen my sorry messages.

January 3, 2013

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Frederik O.

"
Frederik O. on 01.3.13 @ 10:15PM
Sorry guto novo. I didn’t meant to disrespect you."

no problem, man! My first rule in life, as I learn practicing anapana (budhist) and small universe (daoist) meditations (my only drugs these days! :D) is to not take things as personal! :)

the thing is I questioned why you was making such guess about people that disagree with you. :) Sometimes people will disagree with us even when they read the same books or watched the same movies we watched! :)

" I had so much funny incidents where the aura of an piece of art was dismantled in minutes that every time it give my a laughing flash when I read about such comments."

well, any art can be dismantled any time. As the funny non-religion from California, the Discordianism, teaches, all is right from a point of view, all is wrong from another point of view, all is half right and half wrong from another point of view, all is... etc, etc... :)

I could dismantle michael bay films too, but i think it´s better to expend time talking about the filmmakers I love instead. That is my maturation process. :)

Keep being you! and long live the freaks! (we need them more than ever, I think) :)

luv! :)

January 3, 2013

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guto novo

" I real like the Red Scarlet short film shot by the guy from cinema5d.com, about the couple
breaking up in a forest."

agree. that is raw pure art from start to end. And made fast and in a spontaneous way that show that magic can happens when the right artists gather around a project! :)

January 3, 2013

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guto novo

Stalker is one of thge greatest films ever made. Right up there with oldboy and apoc now. Cheers!

January 4, 2013

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jordan

The names Andrei Tarkovsky and Philip Bloom should not be in the same sentence. Ever!

Tarkovsky is a true artist! A true master of cinema and an inseration to some of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Phillip Bloom is a smart media creative who runs a commercial production company.

Not the same league, not the same sport, not the same Kraft. If you want to make true, honest films with a spiritual and artistic intent Philip Bloom should not be in the picture. Tarkovsky most certainly should. Along with many other great filmmakers. NOT MEDIA JUNKIES !

January 4, 2013

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david

... Sorry to straw man the use of bloom on one end of the spectrum vs tarkovsky on the other. Just wanted to note that i strongly believe as filmmakers we should, hopefully, be on the tarkovsky side of things.

Stalker was my favorite given its deep psychological nature. But Andrei Rubolev and My Name is Ivan are also great. I think all his films are worth seeing.... Solaris, The Mirror, the sacrifice, nostalgia... He was a true Autour in every sense of the word.

I am very stoked to see these short films! Great find Joe.

January 4, 2013

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david

By the way, I don't think Philip Bloom and Tarkovsky are talking about the same thing when they say "work/life", so I don't think their views diverge.

Tarkovsky -- I think he's talking about putting parts of yourself into your filmmaking. Putting your beliefs and feelings into it. And not treating it as a job, and doing it mechanically, clocking on and clocking off.

Philip Bloom -- is talking about how to find a balance between something you're passionate about (filmmaking) and your social life.

I don't think the question of filmmaking/friends and family comes up for Tarkovsky -- he's more talking about how to make films than about how to live your life.

Philip Bloom, by the way, might be pursuing something illusory. No doubt it's different for every person, but maybe the more time you spend with friends, the more regrets you'll have about filmmaking; and the more time you spend with filmmaking, the more regrets you'll have about friends; and you'll never reach a point of satisfaction. Why should there be such a thing as a balance?

January 4, 2013

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Regardless of anyone's views on the matter, can we just stop for a second and see that we're having a real conversation about something that actually matters in regards to filmmaking? We're not arguing over Canon, or Sony, or RED - but about an actual filmmaker and the way he made his films and thought about cinema.

Even if they get nasty I would take these conversations over anything else without hesitating.

January 4, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Agreed. Would love to see more articles like this up on nofilmschool.com. I love this site and frequent it very often but I do agree that is often is a bit to camera hungry and thus can become a bit one dimension. not that those types of articles and not great and beneficial. We all know it is story and vision first and is all to easy to get hung up on the technical aspects and become an equipment junkie!

January 6, 2013

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david

>being morally responsible about what you’re making

Morality? Hahahaha get that soviet commie-head out of here!

January 5, 2013

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Natt

Thanks Joe, glad to see master Tarkovsky in NFS. Love all his films, but specially "Solaris" and "The Mirror". He was a filmmaker with a unique vission.
Just to name a couple of issues or concerns of his original filmmaking style: his treatment of the of solitude and his portrait of the nature as a character.

January 5, 2013

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Ferran Brooks

For me, his most influential works are Ivan's Childhood, Solaris, and Nostalghia. Particularly IC, which is a monumental call to action for all of the "civilized" world.

January 10, 2013

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DR Conant

I only see one of is film and i do not like it... to slow but he create nice atmosphere.
Andrei Tarkovsky in interview or his philosophy the man i like it.
I do not remember the title but it's start in early morning in a isolate farm with fog going up
then the character go to a house to met some one for a Interview and you have roof leak in it.
A place in the film some one try to crossing a swimming pool with a candle !!!

One Russian filmmaker I like very much is Sergei Paradjanov and in particular the film
SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS specially the first part i seen shot in this film never done.
He made also a film call The color of Pomegranates a more poetic and i will ad more experimental.

I agree with Andrei Tarkovsky about the mechanic we could learn to used to
so company how made movie film camera are now moving in digital. The last 35mm film camera are Arriflex and Aaton but the late model incorporate electronic with the mechanic in the feature those camera will be hard to get fix so i turn my interest on Russian gear with a set of LOMO.What i have it's Konvas M2 this camera look like the Eclair CM 3 ( made 60 year ago ) and the electronic it's only in the motor, and the Russian made them until 1992... for lens i have LOMO a Russian copy of the Zeiss my oldest camera was made in 1986 but in 1997 a company call Ostcam modified the Konvas M2 with a pin registered and the motor was rebuild on the side and a new control was made on the tacometer side and a remote control with the possibility to do Time-laps with it and ad some speed to the camera it's running 1 frame to 50 frames secound and chrystal at 24/26/30. This camera weight 17.5 pounds with the 200 ft magazine the Chrystal motor and a lens the lens are mounted on Russian OCT 19 how look like BNCR but my Ostcam got a PL lens mount.

January 10, 2013

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Pierre Samuel Rioux

Tarkovsky was a genius. I have been in love with "Andrey Rublev" for the last 30 odd years & its magical, lyrical & dramatic qualities continue to delight & surprise me, together with its breathtaking cinematography & insights into the human condition in the microcosm of medieval Russia.

January 11, 2013

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PaulH

Can I begin by thanking Mark for his admission that "Sculpting In Time" was a difficult read, I agree it is more than likely a translation thing but Tarkovsky "felt" his work rather than produced it. He lived it aside from the constraints of anticipating audience reaction. His book personifies this by being opaque, can any of us truly know what another person thinks, we can only attempt to empathise with others through our interpretation of our own lives and experiences and as such it is a miracle that common parlance exists. Tarkovsky was that rare breed of film-maker who took the enormous and distilled it to the everyday. Take Solaris, for example, Solaris takes what we know to be individualistic, ie consciousness and applies it to a planet and then using techniques inherent in the nature of cinema he returns it to the personification of mans/womans desire, that a lost loved one might live again. He displays a fundamental appreciation of what it is to be human and in a word, and my humble oppinion, it is curiousity. Tarkovsky searched in his films, and we the audience were complicit in the pursuit, not for narrative sake, not for audience appreciation or box office acclaim but for it's own sake. When he says in Voyage In Time that film-makers ought to be morally responsible for the work they produce, he is saying, again in my humble oppinion, that film-makers have a duty to be true to themselves and how they see the world, if other people dig it and you get rich then more power to you but like all art time erodes, Tarkovsky will be forgotten, each and all of us too, but in our time were we honest to ourselves and our era. Tarkovsky was and he continues to inspire my thoughts and practise even though I watch less and less of his films, just like Melies or Lang or Melville or a myriad more, it is the pursuit that seperated Tarkovsky from his contemporaries not necessarily the answer...I never write blogs or whatever but the love shown to Tarkovsky inspired me add my two cents worth. Much love and keep shooting.

January 18, 2013

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Ben Coen

Tarkovsky's films changed my life and I've never agreed with another human's words more than his. His book Sculpting in Time is the best I've ever read, and I recommend it to anyone interested in life.

March 9, 2013

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Micah Van Hove
Writer
writer, director, dp

I have Sculpting in Time (Translated by Kitty Hunter-Blair). I think this version reads well. There is some old-school terminology but it does make sense. One of the most insightful & enjoyable books I've read.

July 3, 2014

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He is beloved, not because his film has a unique vision.

Because, he film has a philosophy and its theory.

He is a true creator just like other fine artist, he found a way that combine theater and its cinema beautifully.

His film rhythm is quite slow, but there is a meaning behind why, instead of making people exiting with its technique like action movies.

July 3, 2014

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Yes. Thanks for bringing up Tarkovsky in NFS. Trakovsky is the greatest. And my favourite film is his ANDREI RUBLEV. This one film has changed me for better as a human being so deeply.

July 4, 2014

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