History of Our World

The Image as Rememberance | Giovanni Chiaramonte & Andrei Tarkovsky

Posted in Art, Film, Photography, Print by R on October 28, 2009

Myasnoye, 1980_I

Myasnoye, 1980

Myasnoye, 1980_II

Myasnoye, 1980

Myasnoye, September 1980

Myasnoye, September 1980

Myasnoye, September 26, 1981_II

Myasnoye, September 26, 1981

Myasnoye, September 26, 1981_IV

Myasnoye, September 26, 1981

Myasnoye, September 26, 1981_I

Myasnoye, September 26, 1981

Myasnoye, September 26, 1981_III

Myasnoye, September 26, 1981

Myasnoye, October 2, 1981

Myasnoye, October 2, 1981

Seated on the railing of a balcony  against a backdrop of pale birch trees, a handsome woman, her lips closed, gives a hint of a smile. A young solider, his machine gun slung over his shoulder, stares ahead with an intense melancholy, his face stiffening under his bearskin cap, decorated with the five-pointed star of the Red Army. An old house, it’s logs worn and split by the passage of time, stands alone, immersed in the light, along the line of shadow at the edge of a wood.

These are Andrei Tarkovsky’s most beloved black and white images, the ones crucial to his destiny: his mother Maria Ivanovna, his father, Arseny, his childhood home at Ignatievo. Tarkovsky selected, reproduced, and pasted these and other photographs from his family album into a black diary he carried with him. A visual sequence of his life, a presence from the past that would accompany the director in his preparation and making of the film The Mirror and would stay with him, like a portable flashback that could be replayed again and again in moments of home-sickness throughout his short life, right up to his exile in Italy and his death in Paris on December 29, 1986.

Acceptance of the history of the people and the family of his birth, acknowledgment of the cultural tradition in which he was raised, a profound love of the desire for freedom and the creativity of mankind, made in the image and semblance of God: these are the foundations of Tarkovsky’s art. ‘In all my films,’ he wrote, ‘it seemed to me important to try to establish the links which connect people… those links which connect me with humanity, and all of us with everything that surrounds us. I need to have a sense that I myself am in this world as a successor, that there is nothing accidental about my being here. …I always felt it important to establish that I myself belong to a particular tradition, culture, circle of people or ideas.’*

The vitality of his sense of belonging also comes from accepting, acknowledging and loving the little images of his own genealogy, these humble traces of daily life observed through memory, viewed by remembering. Just as the dream sequence that runs through Ivan’s Childhood, awakens the little orphan to the sacrificial fulfillment of his destiny, so too does The Mirror reflect the decisive moments of the story by literally reconstructing those black and white photographs on the set as backgrounds for some of the scenes.

*Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time, translated by Kitty Hunter-Blair, London, 1986



Instant Light: Tarkovsky Polaroids

Edited by Giovanni Chiaramonte & Andrei Tarkovsky

Introduction by Tonino Guerra

Thames & Hudson



Giovanni Chiaramonte

Andrei Tarkovsky



One Response

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  1. Sakasumi said, on November 6, 2009 at 02:33

    VERY good story, and I really enjoyed those beautiful photos!

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