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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Tarkovsky's Polaroids

I absolutely and completely love the films of Andrei Tarkovsky. They are, of course, an acquired taste. The pacing is glacially slow; his velocity is meditative. The mood in a Tarkovsky film is almost forbiddingly melancholy, suffused with recollection of the lost paradise that is childhood, and Bach's mysterious works in D Minor. A haunting church service, they sometimes seem, to the gods of Memory. Tarkovsky is, as Ingmar Bergman maintained until the end, and artists artist.

I love Tarkovsky's films so much that I forever lost a tenth of the cinematic respect I feel for George Clooney when he counseled, foolishly, that viewers ought to avoid the original Solaris because it was too slow paced. It is not inconceivable that it is George Clooney himself that is too .. "slow paced" (Averted Gaze).

In the course of the original Solaris -- not the clunky Soderberg remake -- there are brief, poignant moments in the zero gravity of deep space that will make you doubt Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation. The original Solaris, dear readers, is so utterly brilliant that it. Will. Change. Your. Life. My Twitter friend @RayPride hipped me to some Polaroids of Tarkovsky, which carry about them that same existential Russian 1970s fragrance about them that is so characteristic of his films. Once you see one, his style is imprinted on your memory. How beautiful that Memory -- the central theme of Tarkovsky's entire artistic project -- is so captured in these Polaroids. Lucky us. From Riowang:

It is not widely known that Tarkovsky, whose films often seem to be composed as a montage of still photos, in a period effectively took photos with a Polaroid camera. These photos, taken at home and in Italy, in spite of all their technical imperfections bear witness to the same way of seeing and visual world as the great films.

A selection from these photos was first published in Italy in 2006, and recently a Russian photo blog digitized all the pictures. The photos ... are taken from there.

The Greens and Grays of Memory reflecting the fundamental Mysteriousness of existence. (images via Riowang)

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