Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. Italy/Russia. 1983.

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Having been to a seminar held a few hours before this screening of his penultimate film as part of the NFT Retrospective, it becomes apparent to me that Tarkovsky was the closest affinity to an artist that cinema has had or ever likely to see.  His passion for art, photography, poetry and making the film personal in tone, content and thematic issues all lead to him being an all-round auteur.

Critics state that Stalker is his philosophical work but Nostalghia, though psycho-analytical, is also philosophic in terms of the protagonist having to find himself when on a research trip for a biographical study.  His dreams of his homeland are static, monographic in colour, his wife looks at the camera but at the same time distant in mind and state.

In his lifetime Tarkovsky was longing to return to his native Russia, despondent of Italyís flat natural land, yet he shoots Russia in sepia making it seem like nothing more than a memory.  Italy seems to hold this mysticism with the fog and mist sweeping through the mountains, emblematic of a lost spirit wondering through fantasies seeking a homestead yet always being alone.

The film ends with an attempt by Tarkovsky to say that no manís home can be removed from his faith and if one suffers then the other will follow.

During the retrospective, it seems that this film got forgotten in Tarkovskyís oeuvre for other films - Solaris, Stalker and The Sacrifice - and even though it is a long stretch, if you pay close attention to the personal within the film it is a rewarding experience.

Jamie Garwood
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