Russian visionary Andrei Tarkovsky only made 7 movies in his lifetime, but all of them are like epic poems. When it came time for Sight and Sound to rank the greatest movies of all time, 3 Tarkovsky films made it into the top 30, as voted on by critics. Each film is highly regarded and continually deconstructed by both scholars and casual observers.
Aspiring filmmakers, as well as seasoned professionals, would do their creative minds a great service by taking the time to dig into Tarkovsky's career, learn about his philosophy, and understand how it informed his small (but mighty) body of work.
Check out this video from The Cinema Cartography and enjoy your retrospective on the incredible Andrei Tarkovsky.
Here's a quick breakdown of chapters, so you can jump to the film you're most interested in if you want to.
- 0:00:29 Prologue
- 0:02:28 I - Ivan's Childhood
- 0:18:59 II - Andrei Rublev
- 0:37:13 III - Solaris
- 0:50:14 IV - Mirror
- 1:01:24 V - Stalker
- 1:18:29 VI - Nostalgia
- 1:31:16 VII - The Sacrifice
- 1:42:38 - Epilogue
Cancer took Tarkovsky's life far too early.
His haunting images and themes have inspired so many filmmakers working today.
Akira Kurosawa praised his “unusual sensitivity [as] both overwhelming and astounding. It almost reaches a pathological intensity. Probably there is no equal among film directors alive now.” And experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage called him “the greatest living narrative filmmaker.”
Still, these movies are not for everyone. His films are often joked about as being exceptionally long. He uses elongated tracking shots and harrowing long takes. He's writing poetry as much as shooting, and for that, he has gone down in history as one of the masters.