STALKER
1979, Janus Films, 163 min, Soviet Union, Dir: Andrei Tarkovsky

A sci-fi tale that unwinds in the environs of the soul takes the form of a nightmarish quest for nothing less than truth itself. A writer (Anatoli Solonitsin) and a scientist (Nikolai Grinko) follow a shaven-headed "stalker" (Aleksandr Kadjanovsky) into forbidden territory, a dangerous wilderness known as the Zone. Tarkovsky forces - or perhaps allows - "reality" to yield up abstract images of startling originality, and his vision of landscape is nothing less than truly mystical - these are places to be found only in humankind's spiritual Baedeker. On top of everything else, Tarkovsky was a director who truly grasped the aesthetic power of color, and this unforgettable pilgrimage is bathed in eerie sepia hues.


NOSTALGHIA
1983, Kino Intl., 125 min, Italy/Soviet Union, Dir: Andrei Tarkovsky

Director Andrei Tarkovsky’s first film outside the Soviet Union was shot in Italy, where Russian writer Andrei Gorchakov (Oleg Yankovsky) has traveled to research an 18th-century composer. Though the interpreter (Domiziana Giordano) accompanying him is quite charming, Andrei is stricken with homesickness, until he meets an eccentric (Erland Josephson) who challenges him to save the world. This haunting, visually poetic film garnered several awards at Cannes (though Soviet authorities reportedly prevented it from winning the Palme d’Or).


ANDREI RUBLEV
1969, Janus Films, 205 min, Soviet Union, Dir: Andrei Tarkovsky

Inspired by the life and works of 15th-century poet and icon painter Andrei Rublev, Tarkovsky frames his exploration of the role of a creator in society in a religious setting: An artist is only a servant offering his talent to his community and to God. Starring Anatoli Solonitsyn, Ivan Lapikov, Nikolai Grinko and Nicolai Sergeyev, this classic film is a powerful statement about the importance of maintaining artistic independence when originality is under siege. In Russian, Italian and Tatar with English subtitles.


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