Tarkovsky, Andrei (1943–1986) By Oveisy, Fouad
The cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky stands at the zenith of high-modernist cinema. Amongst the many technical achievements that characterize Tarkovsky’s total art approach to cinema, a few stand out: the fragmented and free floating diegeses of his films, which often defy the teleology of metanarratives; a wide array of poetry and paintings, grafted onto the plot as philosophical subtext; long takes, intricately choreographed, with many optical illusions; an insistence on reducing the role of color in order to enhance the “expressiveness” of the image (Johnson 188); and, finally, a spare cinematic score that is often mainly a “refrain” to accentuate emotional climaxes (Tarkovsky 158). Thematically, a number of key metaphysical, autobiographical, and historical motifs also recur in his films. The ethical crisis of the human in a universe devoid of humanistic faith; the playful authority of memory over subjectivity, the simultaneous and conflicting alterity and interiority of Nature, and the dilemma of the instrumentality of technology and reason to the capitalistic ratio exemplify some of his main concerns.