The Russian poet Andrei Gorchakov, accompanied by guide and translator Eugenia, is traveling through Italy researching the life of an 18th-century Russian composer. In an ancient spa town, ... See full summary »
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Like the Russian poet of 'Nostalghia', who, accompanied by his Italian guide and translator, traveled through Italy researching the life of an 18th-century Russian composer, Andrei ... See full summary »
The Russian poet Andrei Gorchakov, accompanied by guide and translator Eugenia, is traveling through Italy researching the life of an 18th-century Russian composer. In an ancient spa town, he meets the lunatic Domenico, who years earlier had imprisoned his own family in his house for seven years to save them from the evils of the world. Seeing some deep truth in Domenico's act, Andrei becomes drawn to him. In a series of dreams, the poet's nostalgia for his homeland and his longing for his wife, his ambivalent feelings for Eugenia and Italy, and his sense of kinship with Domenico become intertwined. Written by
Anonymous and Brian McInnis
This was Andrey Tarkovsky's first film directed outside of the USSR. It was supposed to be filmed in Italy with the support of Mosfilm, with most of the dialogue in Italian. When Mosfilm support was inexplicably withdrawn, Tarkovsky used part of the budget provided by Italian State Television and French film company Gaumont to complete the film in Italy and cut some Russian scenes from the screenplay, while recreating Russian locations for other scenes in Italy. See more »
The great about Tarkovskij films is the poetry in the pictures, the melancholic beauty which is almost too hard to bear. A lot of it is in this one: the water, the garbage, strange, haunting sounds in the background, the dogs, the empty rooms with metal beds and rotten walls, the rain, the warmth of pure, shy love, the static, photography-like pictures (sometimes even filmed pictures), the poems, the philosophical discussions.
The failure of "Nostalghia" shows the fragility by which these ingredients are held together in films like "Solaris" or "Stalker". The thin plot line is torn apart, there is no connection between the plots of exile (what a great plot for Tarkovskij this could have been!) and the plot of saving the world by sacrifying yourself. Domenico the lunatic is just not fascinating. You feel that Andrej cannot understand Eugenia, just as Andrej the director can't. The dialogues are awfully pseudo-intellectual, the fixation on Christian faith just penetrant (compare "Stalker" which is all about faith, but without the churches) - even God himself speaks. The story of carrying a burning candle through a pool and thereby saving the world can hardly be told without exposing it to ridiculousness. Andrej's death is hardly prepared, as young and healthy as he looks this just feels like a deus ex machina. In a word, "Nostalghia" is boring and self-indulgent. Maybe it is not a good idea to name your protagonist like yourself (although there was no problem in "Andrej Rubljow") and letting him read your brother's poems. What could have been great scenes in great films look here like mere self-plagiarisms. And there are scenes where Tarkovskij's genius rises: drinking wodka in the bath arches and talking to a child (one of the few scenes where Andrej comes to life); the final scene with the candle; the scene in Domenico's house. If you have never seen a film by Tarkovskij before, don't watch this - it might keep you from seeing his masterpieces. Three stars for a blundered film in respect of the artist.
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