“All art, of course, is intellectual, but for me, all the arts, and cinema even more so, must above all be emotional and act upon the heart.” (Andrei Tarkovsky)
Andrei Tarkovsky (1932 – 1986) was a Soviet director and screenwriter known for his cinematic masterpieces, including Solaris , Stalker and his debut Ivan’s Childhood . He inspired generations of film-makers, and Steven Dillon, a film historian, even went so far as to say that “much of subsequent film” was influenced by Tarkovsky’s work. Always favouring long takes, Tarkovsky belonged to a group of film-makers (for example, others are Robert Bresson (Pickpocket ) and Yasujiro Ozu (Tokyo Story )),that explored spirituality, the transcendental and the metaphysical on film, often focusing on morality or religion, and sometimes employing certain very vivid imagery to convey that. A list of films that were inspired by Tarkovsky’s work in some way or another will probably be never ending, but here I would like to focus on just five of them. Another thing to note is that Andrei Tarkovsky himself drew influence from such directors as Ingmar Bergman, Luis Buñuel andAkira Kurosawa, and this list is not to disparage any of the films listed, which are very good, but to simply draw similarities with Tarkovsky’s work and style.
Lars von Trier’s Melancholia is a work of beauty. Sublime and thought-provoking, Melancholia focuses on one well-to-do family that starts getting to grips with the fact that the end of the world may be near. Another planet is on the collision course with Earth and members of this family, who have a straining relationship with each other, respond differently to the news. Tarkovsky’s influence (including almost his entire filmography) can be seen or felt in almost every other shot of Lars von Trier’s 2011 work.
I won’t title this blog “The Academy Awards 2016: Controversial, Emotional & Predictable”, although I want too. What have we had so far? Protests regarding the representation of black people and women nominated, and nominated actors who you can so safely bet on winning – the chances that they won’t is like forgetting your own name. Diversity & Competition or rather a lack thereof. Here, I will only comment on the Best Picture, Best Animated Film, and Best Actor and Actress categories.
The Best Picture Academy Award went toSpotlight(other nominees being The Martian, The Revenant, Room, Bridge of Spies, The Big Short, Brooklyn, and Mad Max: Fury Road). Surprising? Hardly. Room may be too traumatic or misunderstood for the Academy to applaud, The Martian too science-fiction to take seriously, and The Revenant just not good enough to win.
“He would crawl until his body could support a crutch. If he only made three miles a day, so be it. Better to have those three miles behind him than ahead.” (Michael Punke, “The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge”)
In Alejandro González Iñárritu’s latest film “The Revenant”, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Hugh Glass, an American frontiersman involved in an expedition to American wilderness in the year 1823. After a bear attack leaves Glass seriously injured, one of his companions decides to betray him, and among other horrific actions, leaves him behind. What follows is Glass’s unforgettable journey back to the outpost, to find the man who not only left him for dead, but also robbed him of the one dearest to him.
It seems it is all about “action and impact” with this 2016 Best Picture Academy Awards. I am rooting for “Spotlight” to win, but am also glad that “Room” was nominated. In my view, “The Revenant” had its fair share of flaws to be seen here so proudly taking the nominee’s place. We don’t see here either “Carol” or “Steve Jobs”, surprise, surprise, and what about “Inside Out”? The Academy had no trouble nominating the animations “Toy Story 3” or “Up” in the general film category of Best Picture in 2011 and 2010 respectively. Why such a perfect animation as “Inside Out” is ignored here now?