Piše: Sven Mikulec
Tarkovsky for me is the greatest [director], the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream.
Sovjetskog je filmaša ovom rečenicom opisao jedan drugi europski velikan filma, švedska ikona Ingmar Bergman. Generalno smatran jednim od najvećih filmskih autora svih vremena, Andrej Tarkovski za vrijeme svog 54 godine dugog života snimio je samo sedam filmova, od čega su posljednja dva producirana u Švedskoj i Italiji, da bi nedugo nakon završetka filma The Sacrifice (1986.) izgubio borbu s rakom pluća. Uz blagoslov Cinephilije & Beyond, malo smo pronjuškali tavanom kako bismo se prisjetili što ruskog majstora i autora klasika poput Solarisa i Stalkera čini tako velikim, a prvo na što smo naišli njegova su dva studentska filma, The Killers (1956.) i There Will Be No Leave Today (1959.).
Na sreću, dostupan nam je i odličan dokumentarac Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky iz 1988. godine. Tijekom snimanja njegova posljednjeg filma, kamerman Arne Carlsson snimio je pedesetak sati behind the scenes materijala, koje je kasnije montažer Michal Lszczylowski, ubacivši starije intervjue i citate, pretvorio u intrigantni film koji otkriva kako je Tarkovski radio svoj posao.
1972. godine Tarkovskije razgovarao s filmskim teoretičarom Leonidom Kozlovom, i tijekom razgovora, Kozlov ga je zamolio da mu sastavi svoju listu najboljih filmova. Nakon što je „nekoliko minuta sjedio duboko zamišljen nad praznim papirom“, Tarkovski je prvo zapisao svoje top redatelje: Buñuel, Mizoguchi, Bergman, Bresson, Kurosawa, Antonioni, Vigo, Dreyer. Zatim je uslijedila i lista:
Le Journal d’un curé de campagne (Diary of a Country Priest) – Bresson
Winter Light (Nattvardsgästerna) – Bergman
Nazarín – Buñuel
Wild Strawberries (Smultronstället) – Bergman
City Lights – Chaplin
Ugetsu Monogatari – Mizoguchi
Seven Samurai – Kurosawa
Persona – Bergman
Mouchette – Bresson
Woman of the Dunes – Teshigahara
Za kraj, riječ prepuštamo samom Kozlovu, koji listu izvrsno analizira.
After the list had been typed and signed “16.4.72 A. Tarkovsky,” we returned to our conversation, during which he quite naturally changed the subject and started with his gentle sense of humor to talk about something of no importance. Looking back at the list today, 20 years on, it strikes me how clearly his choices characterize Tarkovsky the artist. Like the numerous top ten lists submitted by directors to various magazines over the years, Tarkovsky’s list is highly revealing. Its main feature is the severity of its choice – with the exception of City Lights, it does not contain a single silent film or any from the 30s or 40s. The reason for this is simply that Tarkovsky saw the cinema’s first 50 years as a prelude to what he considered to be real film-making. And though he rated highly both Dovzhenko and Barnet, the complete absence of Soviet films from his list is perhaps indicative of the fact that he saw real film-making as something that went on elsewhere. When considering this point, one also needs to bear in mind the polemical attitude that Tarkovsky became imbued with through his experience as a film-maker in the Soviet Union.
For Tarkovsky, the question lay not in how beautiful a film-maker’s art can be, but in the heights that Art can reach. The director of Andrei Rublov strove for the most profound spiritual tension and extreme existential self-exposure in all his work and was ready to reject anything and everything that was incompatible with this end. His list, which includes three films by Bergman, undoubtedly reflects his taste both as a director and as a viewer – but the latter is subordinate to the former. As the way he began to compile his top ten shows, this is not only a list of Tarkovsky’s favorite films, but equally one of his favorite directors. Tarkovsky’s and Bergman’s “elective affinity” was noted long time ago, well before Sacrifice. But Bresson’s film does not come top of the list by chance: Tarkovsky considered him to be a supreme creative individual. “Robert Bresson is for me an example of a real and genuine film-maker… He obeys only certain higher, objective laws of Art…. Bresson is the only person who remained himself and survived all the pressures brought by fame.”
It would seem to me that the unexpected appearance of City Lights in the list can be explained similarly. What mattered most to Tarkovsky was not so much the film’s cinematographic achievements or any philosophical points it made, but rather the comprehensive nature of Chaplin’s self-realization as a director. “Chaplin is the only person to have gone down into cinematic history without any shadow of a doubt. The films he left behind can never grow old.”
The essence of Tarkovsky’s top ten films shows nothing less than his own manifesto for authorial film-making.