Frank Chimero on Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky:
When the world is brash, fast, and stupid, we must seek out what is quiet, slow, and intelligent to brace ourselves against the world’s madness. I have been under the influence of Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky’s movies for the last few weeks, finding them to be a source of the comfort and beauty which the world seems not equipped to provide right now. Tarkovsky’s movies could be interpreted as sad, but it is a typical American trait to mistake slowness for sadness.
America’s dysfunction is now wed to its antagonistic relationship with Russia, and I take comfort that the Russian powers that be did not care much for Tarkovsky either. They found his spirituality, ambiguity, and grandiosity dangerous, so they embargoed and delayed all of his films. But I adore well-earned spirituality, ambiguity, and grandiosity, so of course I like Tarkovsky too. Everything his countrymen found dangerous about his work I find essential.
It was only last year that I saw my first Tarkovsky film, Solaris. I’ve heard it described as a ‘Russian 2001: A Space Oddyssey‘, but that’s an inaccurate oversimplification.
I enjoyed it, and I agree with Chimero: it required patience (it clocks in at 2h 49m) and engagement to watch, but it was worth it.