Russian Film Festival
“Tarkovsky is for me the greatest, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream” Ingmar Bergman - Filmmaker
“Mirror seemed to be speaking to me” John Akomfrah - Filmmaker
“The post credit sequence of Mirror is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen" Olivier Assayas - Filmmaker
ANDREI TARKOVSKY (1932-1986) noted in his book Sculpting In Time that audiences should experience cinema as if they were experiencing a piece of music. The reference to music is not only indicative of Tarkovsky’s youthful musical aspirations but it also speaks to the musical notations that are central to his construction of cinematic images, and the significance of the temporal and the spatial in the poetics of his cinematic oeuvre. A graduate of the world renowned All-Union State Institute of Cinematography in Moscow Tarkovsky emerged during the “Russian thaw” with a distinct cinematic sensibility and was part of the movement of new voices that strived to transform Soviet cinema from the strictures of Soviet socialist realist aesthetics to a poetics of cinema that experimented with images, sound, performance and narrative.
Reece Auguiste - Filmmaker, Writer, Associate Professor (founder member of Black Audio Film Collective)
THURSDAY 17 MAY 5.30PM
IVAN’S CHILDHOOD 95 mins 1962 - Russian / English Subtitles
Tarkovsky’s stunning first feature film is set during World War II. Twelve-year-old Ivan works as a spy on the eastern front. He is able to get to places where adults cannot, both because of his size and the fact that no one suspects a boy of doing such work. Three officers try to take care of him. Ivan dreams about his mother and happier times; often the dreams turn into violent nightmares. Tarkovsky uses dream sequences, flashbacks and newsreels to create a poetic and poignant film.
Golden Lion Best Film Venice Film Festival
"The most auspicious debut in Soviet cinema since Eisenstein's Strike" Jim Hoberman - Critic
FRIDAY 18 MAY 5.30
MIRROR 106 minutes1974 - Russian / English Subtitles
Alexei a poet in his forties is dying. A mix of flashbacks, historical footage and original poetry illustrate the poet’s fragmented reflections on three generations of his family. He remembers personal moments, his childhood during World War II, his mother, a painful divorce and events in recent Russian history. The poems used in the film were written and read by the Tarkovsky’s own father (the poet Arseny Tarkovsky). His mother plays the part of the poet’s aged mother.
“Mirror seemed to be speaking to me” John Akomfrah (filmmaker)
“The post credit sequence is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen" Olivier Assayas (filmmaker)
SATURDAY 19 MAY 2.30PM
ANDREI RUBLEV 205 mins 1966 Russian/ English Subtitles
The story of Andrei Rublev, a 14th century monk and icon painter considered to be Russia’s first known artist and one of the country’s greatest medieval painters. Rublev clings to his faith despite the atrocities he witnesses around him. explores complex themes; including artistic freedom, politics and religion. His vivid, and at times starkly violent, recreation of the Middle Ages is charged with resonant poetic imagery.
International Critics Prize Cannes Film Festival
"A film of spiritual power and epic grandeur, unmatched by any historical film I can think of" Philip French- Critic
Reece Auguiste will introduce the film and lead a post-screening discussion via Skype
THURSDAY 24TH MAY 5.30PM
SOLARIS 166 mins 1972 Russian / English Subtitles
An exploration of memory, consciousness, loss, regret and dreams. A film in which the travel is not so much into outer but inner space. Psychologist Kris Kelvin is sent to investigate what seems to be a case of mass psychosis on a space station orbiting the mysterious planet Solaris. He discovers that the planet's "thinking ocean" has the power to materialize the deepest and most painful memories of the station's crew. When his wife, who has been dead for ten years, he starts to appreciate the baffling nature of the alien intelligence.
"A majestic work of art, a masterpiece" Mark Le Fanu-Critic
FRIDAY 25TH MAY 5.30PM
STALKER 163 mins 1979 Russian / English Subtitles
In an unnamed country there is an area called the Zone. This area contains the Room, where it is believed wishes are granted. The Zone is a no-go area sealed off with barbed wire and guards. This does not stop people from attempting to go there. We follow a writer who wants to use the experience as inspiration for his creativity, and a science professor who wants to visit the Zone for his research. Their guide is the Stalker, to whom the Zone is everything.
“Visually unforgettable “ Phillip French - Critic
Film notes compiled by Pervaiz Khan. Programme design by Jurgen Meekel