Raised in the Russian Orthodox tradition, director Andrei Tarkovsky once told an interviewer, "I consider myself a person of faith, but I do not want to delve into the nuances and problems of my situation, for it is not so straightforward, not so simple, and not so unambiguous."
The most revered Russian filmmaker since Sergei Eisenstein, Tarkovsky offers an unabashedly religious worldview, without which, he wrote, "people cease to feel any need for the beautiful or the spiritual, and consume films like bottles of Coca-Cola."
In his famous book on directing, Sculpting in Time, Tarkovsky wrote, "Concerned for the interests of the many, nobody thought of his own in the sense preached by Christ: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' That is, love yourself as much that you respect in yourself the supra-personal, divine principle, which forbids you to pursue your acquisitive, selfish interests and tells you to give yourself, without reasoning or talking about it, to love others."
Tarkovsky's diaries—published under the title Time Within Time, which he called, tongue only partially in cheek, Martyrology—are peppered with ruminations on God and film, with Scripture references and with desperate prayers for help (e.g. "Lord! I feel You drawing near, I can feel Your hand upon the back of my head. Because I want to see Your world as You made it, and Your people as You would have them be. I love You, Lord, and want nothing else from You.").
One page has a drawing of a cross and Tarkovsky has written, "What can I do? Only pray! And believe. The most important thing of all is this symbol, which it is not given to us to understand, only to feel. To have faith in spite of everything; to have faith."
He worked slowly and met with much ...1
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'The Man Who Saw the Angel'
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