Andrei Tarkovsky Talks About....

This compilation was created by Aina Bellis and Lars-Olof Löthwall for the Swedish Film Institute's English Programme Booklet for Offret. Reproduced here with Lars-Olof's kind permission.

His First Encounter with Film-Making
Some film-makers know from the start that cinema is the right thing for them. I had doubts, had little feeling for it. I knew there were major technical aspects but had not understood that cinema is a means of expression like poetry, music, or literature. Even after shooting Ivan's Childhood I had not understood the director's role. Only later did I realize that cinema gives you the possibility of achieving spiritual essence.

Auteur Films
Cinema is based on two types of directors who make two different types of films: those who imitate the world they live in, and those who create their own world - the poets in cinema. And I believe only the poets will go down in the history of cinema, like Bresson, Dovsjenko, Mizoguchi, Bergman, Bunuel, Kurosawa.

I think cinema is the only art that operates within the concept of temporality. Not because of its developing in time; there are also other art forms that do so: ballet, music, theatre. I mean `time' in he literal sense of the word. What is a take, from the moment we say `action' till the moment we say `stop'? It is the fixing of reality, the essence of time, a way of preserving time which allow to roll and unroll it forever. No other form of art can do that. Therefore, cinema is a mosaic made of time.

There is always water in my films. I like water, especially brooks. The sea is too vast. I don't fear it, it is just monotonous. In nature, I like smaller things. Microcosm, not macrocosm; limited surfaces. I love the Japanese attitude to nature. They concentrate on a confined space reflecting the infinite. Water is a mysterious element due to its monocular structure. And it is very cinegenic; it transmits movement, depth, changes. Nothing is more beautiful than water.

Colour films seemed more realistic at their dawn but now they are in a blind alley. Colour cinema is a great mistake. All forms of art aim at truth and then seek a generalization, a model idea. But truth in life does not correspond to truth in art. Colour is part of our physiological and psychological perception of the external world. We live in a coloured world, but don't realize that unless something makes us aware of it. We don't think of colour while looking at this coloured world. But when shooting a colour scene we organize it and close it up in a frame that we force upon the audience and we give them thousands of such colour postcards. To me, black and white is more expressive and realistic because it does not distract the spectator but but enables him to concentrate on the essence of the film. I think colour made the cinematographic art more false, and less true.

Film-making as a Professions, and as a Way of Life
I enjoy inventing my films - writing the script, creating the scenes, looking for locations. But the shooting is not interesting. Once all has been thought out you have to shape it into a film technically, and that is boring. I never managed to separate my life from my films, and I have always had to make crucial choices. Many directors manage to live one way and express other ideas in their work; they are able to split their conscience. I am not. To me cinema is not just a job. It's my life.

I never think of the audience's attitudes. It is difficult to be in their shoes; it's useless and unpleasant. Some people try to predict the future success of a film. I am not one of those. The best attitude towards the audience is to remain oneself, to use a personal language they will understand. Poets and authors do not try to be liked, they do not know how to please. They know the public will accept them.
back navigation
[ Top ] [ Links ] [ Bibliography ] [ Documentaries ] [ Graphics ] [ Photos ] [ Diaries/Memoirs ] [ Topics ] [ News ] [ Home ]