Herzog's film is based upon the true and mysterious story of Kaspar Hauser, a young man who suddenly appeared in Nuremberg in 1828, barely able to speak or walk, and bearing a strange note;... See full summary »
A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous facade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.
Danzig in the 1920s/1930s. Oskar Matzerath, son of a local dealer, is a most unusual boy. Equipped with full intellect right from his birth he decides at his third birthday not to grow up ... See full summary »
Tarkovsky mixes flash-backs, historical footage and original poetry to illustrate the reminiscences of a dying man about his childhood during World War II, adolescence, and a painful divorce in his family. The story interweaves reflections about Russian history and society. Written by
In the first scene, in which stutterer Yuri Zhary is being hypnotized, a shadow of the boom mic is prominently visible on the wall behind him. However, because this is clearly supposed to be a recreation of a TV broadcast, it appears to be a intentional error. See more »
It seems to make me return to the place, poignantly dear to my heart, where my grandfathers house used to be in which i was born 40 years ago right on the dinner table. Each time i try to enter it, something prevents me from doing that. I see this dream again and again. And when i see those walls made of logs and the dark entrence, even in my dream i become aware that I'm only dreaming it. And the overwhelming joy is clouded by anticipation of awakening. At times something happens and i stop ...
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I found this film quite difficult to get into since I'm more used to conventional plot driven narratives, a concept that was anathema to Tarkovsky. Certainly the Soviet authorities did their best to limit the venues where this film could be seen, condemning it's personal nature as decadent, self-indulgent and against the formal traditions of Soviet cinema, a cinema which Tarkovsky himself did not have a good word for. Russians who did see it sent many letters to the director saying how much it affected them and mirrored their own childhood experiences. Tarkovsky himself had difficulty in 'finding' his film during production, and originally worried that it would not work. Many critics questioned whether the images were symbolic in some way, but Tarkovsky dismissed symbolism as decadent. He sited Japanese writers of the middle ages rejecting such things. He had no time for surrealism either, pointing out that Dali himself had rejected the concept as facile. And yet the pull of dreams are un-mistakable in this work. Tarkovsky stated that the artist himself does not necessarily know the meaning of an image but is compelled to express his vision.
Despite some of the problems in viewing this film there are plenty of moving and mysterious moments, not least the wistful and melancholic look on the face of the mother as she lays in the grass, contemplating her children's future.
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