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Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky (1988)

Regi Andrej Tarkovskij (original title)
Documentary on the making of "The Sacrifice."
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During the shooting of Andrei Tarkovsky's last film Offret, cameraman Arne Carlsson taped around 50 hours of behind the scenes footage. Editor Michal Leszczylowski took the material and added scenes of previous interviews and interesting statements from the script of Offret and from Tarkovsky's book 'Sculpting in Time'. The result is a documentary that shows the way Tarkovksy worked: carefully building each scene. Shows why he did the things he did: his vision on film. And shows the emotion of the man Tarkovsky: his great disappointment when the camera breaks while shooting the house going up in flames. Written by Arnoud Tiele (zelva@tiele.nl)

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Ett fängslande dokument om mästarens regikonst

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23 September 1988 (Sweden)  »

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Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky  »

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References Sacrifice (1986) See more »

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into the methods and mind and soul of Tarkovsky
15 May 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's of the utmost value for anyone interested in film-making- those who just love watching how they're made or want to be/are filmmakers- to see this documentary, which chronicles the making of Tarkovsky's last film, the Sacrifice, as well as peers into the personal dimensions of him as an artist. If only for one section is the film a must-see; it's staggering to see the horror and triumph of the climactic house burning scene in the Sacrifice, how all the elements came together, crumbled, and then they went back and did it all over again. It's a moral lesson, in a sense, for the filmmaker, and a kind of primary example of what it is to dedicate oneself to the technical preference. If Tarkovsky had filmed the scene today he would've had the option of digital, without the possibility (as it turns out here) of the film jamming in the camera. But then this is only one piece of the concern over the sequence: all the elements, the special effects, the blaze of the fire, the movement of the camera, the actors hitting their marks precisely as if this were all on the theater stage, have to come together in one fell swoop. And being Tarkovsky, you know the intensity involved.

But then this is just one part of what is already an impressive example of a director profile. We see his thoughts and philosophies expounded upon about making his cinema one of total and utter personal expression, about dealing with the actors, the scrupulous attention to detail which he pretty much all oversees from the color of dresses to the shape of a couch. And, after a while, we see why he's comparable himself to the filmmakers he mentions (i.e. Bresson, Bergman, Bunuel, Kurosawa) who all create their own kinds of 'worlds' in the movies they make, as opposed to just imitating a reality. He almost appears to come too close to being in a personal realm of expression, like some painter or poet who can't get out of his own head-space with the thoughts he has, the dreams he remembers, and the visions that are brought on by certain feelings in memories. But then he also has it in him to strive for tapping into the audience without being very obvious. If there is manipulation to his art, it is in no way of conventional commercial means.

Which means, of course, Tarkovsky isn't for everyone (some of his long takes can last about the length of an infomercial). But if you're interested in knowing more about the iconoclast director behind Stalker and Solaris and the Sacrifice (not to forget Andrei Rublev), then you're more than likely already a fan, or have some interest in a personal Russian cinema. And as we see with him on the set with the Sacrifice, and the control he has along with the method of concise collaboration, it's no wonder his sister (I think it's his sister) comments that he, at the time he was alive, had freedom than any other filmmaker from his native country. Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky is an insightful peek into this late, great film/poet/scholar/dreamer/et all.


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