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aka - Nostalghia
Italy 1983
Directed by
Andrey Tarkovsky
125 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars


Although in his book "Sculpting In Time", Tarkovsky wrote that he wanted Nostalghia, his first film to be made outside Russia to be "about the particular state of mind which assails Russians who are far from their native land” it is more than anything about Tarkovsky’s own state of mind and is, to say the least a highly personal film.

Set in Italy and co-written by Tarkovsky with Tonino Guerra it is visually an extraordinarily beguiling film even compared to other works by this Russian master of art cinema. It is also maddeningly slow moving and opaque of meaning.  In what one assumes is a stand-in for Tarkovsky himself Andrei Gorchakov plays Oleg Yankovskiy, a profoundly alienated wearied poet who has traveled to Italy to research the life of a composer who studied in Bologna during the 18th century before returning to Russia where he committed suicide. The film meanders this way and that, taking in Piero Della Francesca’s Madonna Del Parta, Gorchakov relationship with his Italian translator, Eugenia (Domiziana Giordano), and a local madman (Erland Josephson) who locked his family up for seven years because he thought the apocalypse was coming, as typical of Tarkovsky’s films, water pours from the heavens. These elements are interwoven with dream-like sequences that presumably refer to  director’s memories (the film is dedicated to the memory of his mother) and/or perhaps the life of the fellow-countryman he is researching.  In truth however, the best one can do is to give oneself up to the marvellous imagery. Whatever meaning you see will be your own.




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