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June 28, 2015

Nostalgia (1983)
Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Actors: Oleg Yankovsky, Erland Josephson, Domiziana Giordano

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Synopsis: Andrei Gorkachov (Oleg Yankovsky) is an exiled Soviet writer, doing research in Italy about an 18th Century composer, Pavel Sosnovsky, who had also spent time in Italy. Gorkachov is escorted round the sites by combustible guide, Eugenia (Domiziana Giordano), and becomes interested in local soothsayer-cum-eccentric Domenico (Erland Josephson) who was notorious many years before for keeping his family locked up…

Review: In retrospect, Andrei Tarkovsky’s last two works – Nostalgia and The Sacrifice – almost seemed to be anticipating his own demise with their strange sensibility of apocalyptic proselytising juxtaposed with a more soothing, balming, elegiac tone.

Nostalgia‘s specific story is comprehensible enough as poet Gorkachov gently ghosts his way round Italy, mourning his lost Russian family and homestead (as emblematised in the truly hilarious conceit of Gorkachov completely not seeing the desperate attempts of his beautiful tour guide to seduce him). It’s the epic sound and visual scapes that Tarkovsky conjures to create this ‘nostalgia’ theme that resonates most though. There are numerous hypnotic moments where Gorkachov’s Russian landscapes sear themselves quite literally over his present Italian sights, and the most beautiful of all is a literal dreamlike scenario, where Gorkachov passes out exhausted on his hotel bed with the rain beating hard outside, and slowly the pitch of the scene fuses the soul of Gorkachov into his past life (replete with his old dog by his side!) (June 2015)

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