(1932-1987) Russian film-maker. A graduate of the Soviet State Film School, Tarkovsky attained prominence in Russia with his first film, Ivanovo Detstvo (1962; vt Ivan's Childhood; vt My Name Is Ivan), the story of an orphan cut off behind enemy lines during World War Two. With his next feature, Andrei Roublev (1966; release delayed until 1971), Tarkovsky fell foul of the Soviet censors with his dark vision of the life of the fifteenth-century icon painter. His sf reputation rests on two long films, Solaris (1971), based on Solaris (1961) by Stanisław Lem, and Stalker (1979), based on "Piknik na abochine" (1972 Avrora; trans as Roadside Picnic 1977) by the Strugatski brothers. Alternating between black-and-white and colour, and featuring many static scenes prolonged to the point of tedium, Tarkovsky's sf films have been both much lauded and much reviled by critics, but there is no denying the startling power of such crystal-clear images as the country house marooned on an alien lake in Solaris or the gradual telekinetic movement of a glass on a table at the finale of Stalker. More personal are Tarkovsky's linked pair of non-sf films, Zerkalo (1974; vt Mirror) and Nostalghia (1983; vt Nostalgia), the latter made in Italy after his emigration from the USSR. Not long before his death from cancer, Tarkovsky made a borderline-sf film in Sweden, Offret (1986; vt The Sacrifice), a contemplation on faith and responsibility, heavily influenced by Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007), which contains a central section visualizing World War Three and the dilapidation of society. [KN]
see also: Cinema; SF Music.
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