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Quirks of Tarkovsky

I love Tarkovsky's films - the cinematography is so good that any frame can stand on its own as still photography, and the stories and dialogue are always intelligent. (Except Sacrifice. I don't like Sacrifice.) And when he gets religious, at least he's asking difficult questions, rather than preaching trivialities.

The first time I saw Andrei Rublyov, I immediately watched it a second time. I've watched Stalker and Nostalghia all the way through at 1/2 speed. I really enjoy Tarkovsky.

However... Tarkovsky has some strange quirks.

He loves water. That's not necessarily so strange. However, Tarkovsky loves people wading in water, and indoor rain.

His first two films have a few scenes with people wading in water:

Solaris has an indoor rain scene at the very end:

Mirror has an indoor rain dream sequence, plus some WWII footage of soldiers wading through water:

Stalker has numerous wading scenes, plus indoor rain at the very end, when they reach the room:

Nostalghia has people soaking in the hot springs, an indoor rain scene in Domenico's house, and a really nice wading in water in the ruins of a church scene:

Tarkovsky also likes to film spilt milk, usually on wood.

Mirror has two scenes with milk on wood. One with a cat drinking it, one without:

Stalker has milk spilt on the floor, and a dog drinking:

Nostalghia has a bottle of milk pouring out onto the ground:

Sacrifice has a milk jug smashing on the floor:

The main character of Tarkovsky films frequently has a white splotch on the side of his head.




My favorite piece of acting in a Tarkovsky film is the Stalker's Wife's monologue at the end of Stalker. (Which offsets her breakdown at the beginning, being the weakest point of the film.)

I have this obscure suspicion that Domenico's final scene in Nostalghia is a reference to the SPK mental patient terrorist group, but I don't think I'll ever be able to confirm that.