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The Russian poet Andrei Gorchakov, accompanied by guide and translator Eugenia, is traveling through Italy researching the life of an 18th-century Russian composer. In an ancient spa town, he meets the lunatic Domenico, who years earlier had imprisoned his own family in his house for seven years to save them from the evils of the world. Seeing some deep truth in Domenico's act, Andrei becomes drawn to him. In a series of dreams, the poet's nostalgia for his homeland and his longing for his wife, his ambivalent feelings for Eugenia and her Italy, and his sense of kinship with Domenico become intertwined.
This is another haunting film by Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky--his first made outside of the Soviet Union. Like all of his films, Nostalghia has a mystical quality, as it follows the spiritual journey of a poet on a research mission in Italy. While traveling with his beautiful Italian interpreter in a Tuscan village, the poet suddenly becomes transfixed by memories of Russia and his family. A local mystic helps him see the right path in his life. Once again, Tarkovsky's imagery is gorgeous, and the narrative insightful. The past and the present collide in existential angst. Truly a cinematic feast for those interested in exploring life's deepest concerns. --Bill Desowitz --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Tarkovsky was tormented by his Soviet-enforced exile from his homeland Russia at the time he made this masterpiece, and the nostalgia he felt was more than for his own home - it was a nostalgia for the spiritual world that is absent in so much of modern life. It is supremely ironic he and his main character - a bitter Russian writer - felt nostalgia for the spirit in one of the most "spiritual" places on earth - Italy. And yet it is frighteningly appropriate today.
There is none of the borrowing from other mediums - whether literature, theater or painting - that is common with other so-called art films. This film is the purest cinema that can exist, because everything is done as an image from reality - a reality that exists in the character's own world, and is transfered to the viewer's by means of the most intense visual imagination.
The actors are so perfect in their roles that they do not seem to be acting at all. That is always a hallmark of Tarkovsky's films - utter realism of human behavior, without the slightest trace of fakery.
Ingmar Bergman called this master of cinema the greatest of all filmmakers, and this is probably his greatest film. It is essential to anyone interested in the medium.
However... it's not exactly for TV. The subtle lights do not show very well on the TV screen. Beautiful and subtle shades of darkness that Tarkovski excells at, is often lost. Very often, the screen becomes completely black and we have no idea what's going on. It's much better than the VHS tape that I used to have, but if possible, if you ever have the chance, see it in a movie theater.
That's the only reason that I give it only 4 stars.
There is so much that is extraordinary about this film that it is hard to know where to start. The long, beautiful and lyrical shots that linger over everything, always giving a textural, tangible feel to the 'surface' of the film. The lighting, the spare but evocative soundtrack that often highlights mundane sounds, such as the buzz-saw in the central meeting of the two protagonists, and the Russian folk-song that comes at the start and at the end- these things really stay in your memory. The interiors, the mist, the rain, the wind, the dreams that seem to pull the film into a logic of their own. The meeting of the two protagonists in which they barely say a word to each other. I could go on and on.
The ending is extraordinary and emotional; tears will always come for me as I watch Andrei struggle to get the candle across the pool, and the final shot, enigmatic and ambiguous, is one of the most amazing images in contemporary cinema.
Do try to get hold of this film and indeed the others and let it work its magic on you.
To me "Nostalghia" is about dreams and memory and how they reflect our private longing for "home." The way we carry that sense of place, of where we've been and the people we've loved, with us in our feelings. How in that sense, home and people still live on in our feelings no matter what "strange land" we may find ourselves in. And how that apparent distance, not only in space but in time, gives rise to the most intense and personal feelings of nostalgia.
Technically it's the story of a Russian poet's journey through Italy on a mission to trace the path of a famous Russian composer (Sosnovsky) and to perhaps come to understand why the composer had chosen to return to Russia to die, even though he'd been exiled from there years before. The poet's journey to find Sosnovsky though is more about his own journey to find himself, or a sense of something, a return to the "home" he too carries in his feelings and inhabits his dreams. Along the way he meets a madman and through their mutual understanding is given a small-yet-monumental task of redemption to complete.
There are many layers to the film, some ambiguous at best, some clearly laced with metaphor and meaning. There are also many strikingly poetic moments, often without anything being said, and beautiful transitions between waking (color) and dreaming (b&w) which magically blur the boundaries between the two.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Domenico is the key , he's a man who lives (out of reality?) ; but his speech given in the apex sequence is the fundamental nucleus of this monumental work. Read morePublished on July 4 2004 by Hiram Gòmez Pardo Venezuela
A good friend advised me to see the film "Nostalghia" by Andrei Tarkovsky. Although not familiar with Tarkovsky or his works and somewhat leery of subtitled movies, I was finally... Read morePublished on Feb. 5 2004 by Larry Dye
At least that's what the film conveyed to me. Your guess is as good as mine. For a lark, invite the most die-hard Tarkovsky fan who has not yet seen it, play it on your DVD,... Read morePublished on Nov. 25 2003 by the wizard of uz
Andrei Tarkovsky's NOSTALGHIA - like all of his amazing films - is filled with masterfully drawn images that simultaneously make the heart ache and lift it up to the heavens. Read morePublished on Sept. 10 2003 by Larry L. Looney
My view is that Andrei Tarkovsky was for the late 20th Century what Vincent Van Gogh was for the late 19th: the most significant visionary artist of the Western world. Read morePublished on April 30 2003
Let me first say that Tarkovsky movies are definitely not for everyone, and that if your attention span has been shaped by MTV and pop culture in general, you may not have the... Read morePublished on May 7 2002 by Donald J. Hajicek
I recently saw NOSTALGHIA for the first time. I have seen all of Tarkovsky's films except THE SACRIFICE and am convinced that Tarkovsky is one of the top world film giants. Read morePublished on Jan. 13 2002 by Jim Reed
The mercurial nature of this film - its liquidity (incompressible but formless state) - is mesmerizing. Read morePublished on Nov. 3 2001