I think there is something that is organic to film and unique to it as an art form, which is the nature of time and how to portray it in film. And I am interested in that question of, What is time in film? So I would say I’ve grown more interested in that question over time. It’s something I contemplate each time I make a film, but I’m hardly an original thinker in terms of this. Take the very famous example of Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, where three different approaches to a similar reality are explored.
My understanding of filmic time is that it’s always moving forward in one clear, linear fashion, and at the end of two hours you come to the end. It’s only in parts of the story that you may periodically dip into the past. I think that if you approach telling a story the way Rashomondoes, what you do is dissolve any factual basis for determining what is true and what is not true. By having all three versions of events moving forward simultaneously, you dissolve the underlying concept of a single truth that’s presumed to be there. And I think that this is probably something very difficult to achieve in any other art form.
But at its essence, film is a collection of chopped-up time. I mean, I guess once in a while you have something that’s actual contiguous time that’s shot almost like a documentary recording of real time, but in general filming occurs over a longer time period: you shoot scenes over different days and then you edit that. Of course, the audience in theory experiences it as a linear story, but for those of us who are creating it, it’s a complete non-linear mishmash of time from the very beginning, and we’ll do brazen things like take a close-up from a scene that didn’t belong in the scene at all and pop it in in the editing.
A real work of art destroys, in the consciousness of the receiver, the separation between himself and the artist—not that alone, but also between himself and all whose minds receive this work of art. In this freeing of our personality from its separation and isolation, in this uniting of it with others, lies the chief characteristic and the great attractive force of art.
I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.
Tarkovsky’s cinema is steeped in Eastern Orthodox mysticism.
Orthodox Easter, celebrated by most branches of the Eastern Orthodox Church (including the Russian Orthodox Church) and some Oriental Orthodox churches, is today this year. Orthodoxy in Estonia is practiced by 13% of the population, making it the second most identified religion after Lutheran Christianity. The Easter service itself begins the night before Easter Sunday. I actually took part of it last night. People gather at church at around 23:00 to hear the Easter mass. Bells begin to ring out across the city and the priest will then lead the congregation around the church in what is called ‘the cross procession’.
I found a copy of Andrei Rublyov’s Holy Trinity hanging on the wall. The Church has many different depictions of the Holy Trinity. But the icon which defines the very essence of Trinity Day is invariably the one which shows the Trinity in the form of three angels. The prototype for this icon was the mysterious appearance of the Holy Trinity in the form of three travelers to Abraham and Sarah under the oak of Mamre. The Church specifically chose this particular icon because it most fully expresses the dogma of the Holy Trinity: the three angels are depicted in equal dignity, symbolizing the triunity and equality of all three Persons.
Andrei Rublev, Art, Orthodox Icons, Russian Art, Russian Orthodox Church, Trinity, Christ the Redeemer.
But art, if it means awareness of our own life, means also awareness of the lives of other people — for style for the writer, no less than colour for the painter, is a question not of technique but of vision: it is the revelation, which by direct and conscious methods would be impossible, of the qualitative difference, the uniqueness of the fashion in which the world appears to each one of us, a difference which, if there were no art, would remain for ever the secret of every individual. Through art alone are we able to emerge from ourselves, to know what another person sees of a universe which is not he same as our own and of which, without art, the landscape would remain as unknown to us as those that may exist on the moon. Thanks to art, instead of seeing one world only, our own, we see that world multiply itself and we have at our disposal as many worlds as there are original artists, worlds more different one from the other than those which revolve in infinite space, worlds which, centuries after the extinction of the fire from which their light first emanated, whether it is called Rembrandt or Vermeer, send us still each one its special radiance.