Grigory Pomerants

At the Castle Doors
(summary by Vladimir Baranov/transl. by Vladimir Baranov and Jan Bielawski)

An incident has compelled the author to review seven films by Andrei Tarkovsky as seven chapters of a series. The self-defense of [the planet] Solaris has reminded the author of an experiment by two American psychologists. LSD was given to a large group of patients. 5% felt a flare of an internal light such as feelings of love or beauty can cause sometimes. 15% felt a strong sense of guilt for their actions. The rest (about 80%) saw something like a television advertising, bright images of things. The characters from the film Solaris belong to the second group, with a different degree of sensitivity to conscience torments. Majority of Tarkovsky's viewers comes precisely from this second group. Rublov's icons enchant those who would get in the first 5% of the American experiment. These icons have also struck Tarkovsky, but he was able to see and to show the inner world only of the people from the second group. Tarkovsky wanders around the secret of God and holiness like Joseph K. in Kafka's novel The Castle. Beginning with Stalker Tarkovsky's heroes are yurodivyie — blessed, holy fools. Compared to the great saints they stop only on the threshold of holiness. In their denial of the commonplace they are nevertheless closer to it than holiness which reaches so high that one can neither approach it nor imagine the kind of colors needed to depict it. Russian thinker of the early 20th century N. Fedorov has defined Russian state order as an autocracy limited by the institution of the yurodivyi. Judging by the films Rain Man and Forrest Gump, this institution was necessary in America too. Even if there was an influence of Tarkovsky's last films, something has inspired the American producers in their native land. God gives the "idiots" an irresistible charm. And Andrei Tarkovsky felt it: he has made a yurodivyi a guide to the Castle. But in front of the Castle's closed gates his work stops.

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Full text in Russian
("Iskusstvo Kino" (11) November 2000)
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