Sato Kimitoshi

In Memoriam Andrei Tarkovsky

From April till May, 1989, Erland Josephson visited Japan to perform The Cherry Garden by Chekcov. I made an official interview with him as a member of the Tarkovsky Society of Japan. And I was his "unofficial" guide to Japan. This piece is based on our shared experiences in some Japanese gardens, temples, and the Ginza — experiences which are still dear to me. I wrote it on December 28, 2001, in memoriam Andrei Tarkovsky, the great cinema poet.

SATO Kimitoshi, Saitama, Japan

There lies a great, deep abyss between life and death. Who has ever crossed the border between them at will?

Tarkovsky declared in a Baglivo interview that death does not exist; only fear of death exists. We can see him strolling and commenting on many things, sometimes eloquently, sometimes reflectively. He was walking about a beautiful brook at a countryside in Italy.

Relaxing As if to tell us that he was quite relaxed, he got interviewed with his back on a tree trunk hanging over the stream.

Death does not exist; only fear of death exists.

I will tell you why I remember this remark. Because Erland Josephson asked me if I had seen the documentary while he was here in Japan with Peter Brook. "Of course yes", said I, when Erland began to tell me about an anecdote with Tarkovsky while he was shooting The Sacrifice.

One day Andrei came and said that he had seen a dream of his death and his own funeral. So he insisted that the funeral episode should be included in The Sacrifice. He shot the sequence, so he produced his own funeral, but the sequence was in the end excluded from the film.

Erland said making the funeral scene was an unforgettable memory.

He also said that there are a vast amount of videos recording Tarkovsky in Sweden. To be exact, sixty hours of video tape was shot of Tarkovsky directing The Sacrifice. I wonder if what has become of them. Most of them remain hidden still, in the vaults of the Swedish Film Institute.

Death does not exist; only fear of death exists.

Andrei Tarkovsky, who had a firm belief in immortality, died in Paris early in the morning of December 29, 1986. end block

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