Tarkovsky could sum up his life’s work as one of integrating creativity and truth. He strongly believed life was about finding your calling (in his case, an artist) and living it out fully. After a long and arduous journey of his own self-discovery, he points others to do the same. To be true to yourself, you must discover who you are and live for a higher purpose authentically.
This inspiring cinematic memoir is essential for anyone who’s interest is in the Visual Arts. Whether or not you are studying film or even familiar with the work of Tarkovsky, this book will enlighten you as an artist and help you rethink the purpose of your own work. Tarkovsky not only sets out methods for film making, he writes profoundly on the philosophy of aesthetics–pointing out the power visual poetry has in helping the audience transcend what we ordinarily call real–into a much more potent world of spirituality. He doesn’t believe in art as an outlet of “self expression”, so much as a duty of self-sacrifice, to love and enrich the lives of others. He says when the artist creates authentically, they communicate from a higher level of existence, ultimately linking us to Absolute Truth–the Source of all creation.
In this very personal book, Tarkovsky writes honestly about his own mistakes and hard lessons learned along the way. He shares his inspirations, thoughts and techniques in his films–Ivan’s Childhood, Andrey Rublyov, Solaris, The Mirror, Stalker, Nostalgia, and The Sacrifice.
From his book–Sculpting in Time, Tarkovsky writes:
“Masterpieces are born of the artists’s struggle to express his ethical ideals. If he loves life, has an overwhelming need to know it, change it, try to make it better, -in short, if he aims to cooperate in enhancing the value of life, then there is no danger in the fact that the picture of reality will have passed through filter of his subjective concepts, through his states of mind. For his work will always be a spiritual endeavor which aspires to make man more perfect: an image of the world that captivates us by its harmony of feeling and thought, its nobility and restraint.”
“In artistic creation the personality does not assert itself, it serves another, higher and communal idea. The artist is always a servant, and is perpetually trying to pay for the fit that has been given to him as if by a miracle. Modern man, however, does not want to make any sacrifice, even though true affirmation of self can only be expressed in sacrifice. We are gradually forgetting about this, and at the same time, inevitably, losing all sense of our human calling.”
“The great function of art is communication, since mutual understanding is a force to unite people, and the spirit of communion is one of the most important aspects of artistic creativity.” –A. Tarkovsky