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NOSTALGHIA

Italy / USSR, 1983 (MIFF 1985)

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky

Gorciakov, a young Russian professor, journeys to Italy to retrace the career of 18th century composer Pavel Sinovsky. Exploring Italy's museum culture, Gorciakov begins to suffer 'nostalghia' and the experience changes his life.

Joined by Eugenia, his interpreter, they visit the central piazza in Bagno Vignoni, a 14th century Tuscan village with an antique hot spring that once cured Saint Catherine of Sienna Gorciakov begins a series of conversazione with Domenico, a recently released inmate from an Italian mental asylum. As their discussions move towards philosophy and metaphysics, Gorciakov's mind begins to 'slip' - he dreams of Russia, his wife, his son, his inability to love Eugenia - images haunted by the presence of an impending disaster. Domenico's quest ends on top of the Marc-Aurelio monument in Rome's Piazza del Capidoglio, where he passes the fire' on to Gorciakov, who is now totally committed to saving the world. Isolating a terminal imbalance between spiritual and material reality, Nostalghia asserts the need for a new genesis - our inability to find it will certainly lead to our final destruction.

For more than a decade, European critics have recognised Andrei Tarkovsky as the leading director in the USSR. His failure to achieve similar status within Russia is not only reflected by Nostalghia, but underlined in his recent defection to the West. Echoing the letter from Pushkin, narrated in his earlier work Mirror, Tarkovsky has deliberately haunted Gorciakov, in Nostalghia, with the ghost of Sinovsky - a man who would rather have been "a slave in Russia, than live abroad in freedom". Tarkovsky himself defines 'nostalghia' as "a complex sentiment that mixes the love for your homeland with the melancholy that arises from being far away - it is an illness, a mortal suffering which tortures the soul."

Tarkovsky remains one of the few poet-filmmakers able to create a discernible universe of unmistakable, metaphoric visions. In Nostalghia, he is capably supported by scriptwriter Tonino Guerra and the sumptuous, ravishing photography of Giuseppe Lanci.

See also...

ANDREI ROUBLEV

Andrei Roublev is the second film of award-winning director Andrei Tarkovsky. Ivan's Childhood, Roublev and Solaris have all been awarded prizes at major film festivals. Roublev, made in 1966, has ... More »

MIRROR

Andrei Tarkovsky has directed Ivan's Childhood, Andrei Roublev and Solaris and in doing so he has established himself as one of the most striking and original directors working today. Mirror was made ... More »

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