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Andrei Tarkovsky Retrospective at Berkeley Art Museum: Must See

Andrei Tarkovsky, "The Mirror," 1975

BAMPFA August series “Andrei Tarkovsky: Sculpting in Time” is a rare chance to experience, on a wide screen, one of the world cinema’s greatest masters. Born in USSR in 1932, the son of a prominent poet, Tarkovsky turned to cinema to capture “that most captivating quality of all art,” the “unspoken elusiveness” of feeling and dreams. As noted by Jason Sanders, film note writer for the series, Tarkovsky’s distrust of words and traditional narratives is rooted in his coming of age during the era of Soviet doublespeak. The philosophy rings oddly relevant to modern-day America, where facts are being assailed on a daily basis, and the search for truth becomes an individual responsibility.

Tarkovsky’s movies—he created only seven, all of which are now part of the Criterion Collection—have profoundly influenced directors and artists around the world, from Bergman to Kurosawa, and spun multiple research, artistic and literary projects worldwide, among them Geoff Dyer’s “Zona,” a book-length investigation of Tarkovsky’s 1979 classic Stalker. Starring in a film by Tarkovsky was viewed as honor by a pleiad of A-list Russian theater and cinema actors, and his screenplays were produced by the leading writers of the time, conjuring a different perspective on Russian realities and the minds behind them. As his work was being increasingly censored in USSR, his last two films Tarkovsky shot as a refugee in Italy. He died in exile at the age of 54, but his movies survived USSR and his persecutors, an example art’s resilience. Any movie by Andrei Tarkosvky is a challenge to conventional view of the world and is worth seeing.

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