Andrei Tarkovsky's Martyrolog on...

St. Anthony

These are the relevant entries we were able to locate in Andrei's Diary, entries pertaining directly to his dream of some day making "The Temptation of St. Anthony." From the Polish edition of Martyrolog, ed. and trans. by Seweryn Kuśmierczyk. Retranslation by Jan at

Krzysztof Zanussi writes: "We met the very last time in December, nearly two weeks before his death, once again in Paris. [...] He described the films he had failed to make, the Hoffmaniana. It was his old screenplay. Most of all he spoke about the film focused on the figure of St. Antony of Padova. And it seemed to me that the specific historical saint did not concern him particularly, he was much more interested in the notion of sanctity, the tragedy of a conflict between flesh and spirit in man..." [ Reference: Krzysztof Zanussi, About Andrei Tarkovsky, in About Andrei Tarkovsky, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1990. ]


3 November, Tuesday
        [...]  The Temptation of St. Anthony... The finale: uncontrollable sobs upon realisation of his inability to achieve inner harmony, slowly dissolving into spasmatic sighs, quiet sobbing, gradual calming down, while his gaze is absorbing the blossoming beauty of the world. Dawn, stillness of nature, trembling trees, stars dying down, and the light from the east which lights up the beauty of life.
        Saint Anthony. Also Tolstoy and Ivan Karamazov, and everybody else who suffered because of ignorance. [...]


27 January, Paris, hospital
        [...] Saint Anthony.
        A conversation between Saint Anthony and a woman across the river. A calm, slowly flowing, deep water. She begins to speak loudly (because of the distance) then she echoes his words quietly. The voices carry far over the water. She wants a child by him, he explains to her that this is impossible, she — that it's necessary. The idea of populating the world with children born of saints. He laughs. He tries to see her face but the face is hard to discern from the distance.
        The end. Saint Anthony's dream: arrival of the woman, love, dawn. Saint Anthony cries. [...]

8 April, Sarcelles, hospital, day two
        Episodes for Saint Anthony:
        1. the love scene (do not repeat the error from The Witch),
        2. the conversation with the woman by the river, they stand on opposite banks,
        3. the end: the crying, the dawn, the beauty of nature,
        4. reflections, ideas, topics. Most important: art, love, the problem of sin.

25 September

  1.   Unity of place, time, and action. Prove that limited space is as infinite as any other, and also as limited.
2. A café with a view of a street and an alley disappearing behind the corner opposite, the perspective framed by a wharf and a landing-pier. The bay. A white steamer calls at the port. The evening sun is reflecting off its side and illuminates the café interior. The light, the weather, the atmosphere — daytime.
3. An explosion at the neighbouring restaurant.
4. The arrival of Mari a with the man, she notices the hero in "their" place.
5. The anecdote about a sinner's prayer on a sinking ship. About the non-accidental nature of the fact that everyone is present at this instant precisely here.
6. The monk, the conversation with the woman. They sit at opposite river banks. A dream (?)
7. A love scene?
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