Time, Place and Empathy : The Poetics and Phenomenology of Andrei Tarkovsky's Film Image. / Kreider, Kristen.

In: Visual Studies , Vol. 28, No. 1, 03.2013, p. 1-16.

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Abstract

Acclaimed Russian film-maker Andrei Tarkovksy’s specific understanding of what constitutes the ‘film image’ is outlined in his collection of writings, Sculpting in Time (1986), and evidenced by his body of film work. Our aim in this article is to identify the specificity of Tarkovsky’s theory and practice of the film image and to argue that the film image is a meaningful composite of poetic, spatial and material properties. We unpack this complexity through a close, careful and attenuated reading of a single scene from Tarkovsky’s film Nostalghia (1983). In this scene, the film’s protagonist – the poet, Gorchakov – carries a lit candle across the expanse of the Santa Catarina pool. The pool, a geothermal bath in the Tuscan hillside town of Bagno Vignoni, Italy, is emptied for this shot, but still steaming. This infuses the film image with atmospheric qualities of place. We read these qualities in relation to Tarkovsky’s use of symbol, the relationship of this scene to others in the context of the filmic narrative, and the filmic syntax of the long take and tracking shot. We also examine how the film image is received, as a projection, by an embodied recipient, and to what effect. Through this discussion, we defend Tarkovsky’s work against charges that it embodies a naïve realism, exposing the critical potential inherent in Tarkovsky’s nostalgic impulse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalVisual Studies
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

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