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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Nostalghia’, 14 July 2016

directed by Andrei Tarkovsky.
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... Andrei Tarkovsky​ made his last two films, Nostalghia and The Sacrifice, in Italy and Sweden, and never returned to Russia. He died in Paris in 1986, aged 54. He was out of favour with the Soviet authorities then, later lionised as a master, and placed in the company of Eisenstein and Pudovkin, though his approach to film can seem antithetical to theirs ...

Building with Wood

Gilberto Perez: Time and Tarkovsky, 26 February 2009

by Nathan Dunne.
Black Dog, 464 pp., £29.95, February 2008, 978 1 906155 04 9
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Andrei TarkovskyElements of Cinema 
by Robert Bird.
Reaktion, 255 pp., £15.95, April 2008, 978 1 86189 342 0
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... The first film Andrei Tarkovsky shot outside the Soviet Union was Nostalghia – spelled that way because ‘nostalgia’ is too weak an equivalent for the Russian word, the Russian emotion. Made in Italy in 1982-83, it begins with a visit to the Tuscan church where Piero della Francesca painted his fresco of the pregnant Virgin Mary, the Madonna del Parto ...

At the Duveen Galleries

Brian Dillon: ‘The Asset Strippers’, 18 July 2019

... There is often, perhaps always, a science fiction strain in his work, informed by the films of Andrei Tarkovsky, the fiction of Stanisław Lem and J.G. Ballard. Take his installation The Coral Reef, which won him a Turner Prize nomination in 2001: the visitor had to navigate a claustral labyrinth of 15 more or less grotty and unsettling ...

I don’t understand it at all

Mike Jay: Chernobyl, 6 December 2018

Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy 
by Serhii Plokhy.
Allen Lane, 404 pp., £20, May 2018, 978 0 241 34902 1
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... and forbidden locus of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s novel Roadside Picnic (1972), filmed by Andrei Tarkovsky as Stalker (1979). It’s an uncanny match with Serhii Plokhy’s first impression of Chernobyl as a tourist, thirty years after the explosion there in 1986. His young guide knows the site well enough, though the Soviet world of thirty years ...

Complicated System of Traps

Michael Wood: Geoff Dyer’s ‘Zona’, 19 July 2012

Zona: A Book about a Film about a Journey to a Room 
by Geoff Dyer.
Canongate, 228 pp., £16.99, February 2012, 978 0 85786 166 5
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... The film we have been seeing through these two hundred pages of Dyer’s memory and prose is Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979), a science fiction movie that doesn’t so much transcend the genre as pervert it, turn it over to the history of religion – or perhaps the history of doubt. The eyes belong to a girl described in the film as ‘a victim ...


James Meek: Real Murderers!, 8 October 2015

... for breaking Institute rules. During his working sabbatical at the Institute, the string theorist Andrei Losev lived with his wife in a ‘Soviet apartment’ shared with another role-playing/vacationing/working physicist couple, their beds separated by a fragile screen. He later told the newspaper Kommersant what a late-night visit from the ‘secret ...

Amerikanist Dreams

Owen Hatherley, 21 October 2021

Building a New World: Amerikanizm in Russian Architecture 
by Jean-Louis Cohen.
Yale, 544 pp., £30, September 2020, 978 0 300 24815 9
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Moscow Monumental: Soviet Skyscrapers and Urban Life in Stalin’s Capital 
by Katherine Zubovich.
Princeton, 280 pp., £34, January, 978 0 691 17890 5
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... aesthetics, they were quite distinct in terms of planning. As the reformed avant-garde architects Andrei Bunin and Mariia Kruglova put it in The Architectural Composition of the City (1940), it was thought possible in Russia at the time to use skyscrapers to make ‘striking vertical compositions’. The chaos of the Manhattan skyline, with its canyons and ...

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