Form and Content

(Literary Essentials: Nonfiction Masterpieces)

This penetrating essay on filmmaking is a serious examination of cinema as art. Reflecting the author’s philosophy, Sculpting in Time is a powerful plea for honesty, faith, and individual expression in an art form too long identified with literature, from which it is often adapted, or mass consumerism, which it often reflects. Tarkovsky discusses this subject from the perspective of his own films, which have had deep influence on filmmaking in the West but which have been little understood by bureaucrats in his native land.

His films include Ivanoro detstvo (1962; Ivan’s Childhood), Andrey Rublyov (1969), Solaris (1972), Zerkalo (1974; The Mirror), Stalker (1979), Nostalghia (1983; Nostalgia), and Offret (1986; The Sacrifice). As a student at the State Institute of Cinematography in Moscow, Tarkovsky, with Andrey Mikhalkov-Konchalovsky, made two films in 1959; one of these won first prize in the New York Students’ Film Competition. Ivan’s Childhood, a surrealist depiction of a young boy during wartime, won the Golden Lion Prize at the Venice Film Festival in 1962 and other awards at film festivals in Acapulco and San Francisco. The film about Andrey Rublyov, the saintly medieval icon painter, received a prize at the Cannes International Film Festival, as did Solaris, a psychological exploration of man’s reactions to...

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(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Birkos, Alexander S. Soviet Cinema: Directors and Films, 1976.

Green, Peter. “Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-86),” in Sight and Sound. LVI (Spring, 1987), pp. 108-109.

Insdorf, Annette. “Faith in Movies,” in The New York Times Book Review. XCII (September 20, 1987), p. 20.

Kennedy, Harlan. “Tarkovsky: A Thought in Nine Parts,” in Film Comment. XXIII (May/June, 1987), pp. 44-47.

Montagu, Ivor. “Man and Experience: Tarkovsky’s World,” in Sight and Sound. XLII (Spring, 1973), p. 89.