Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Andrei Tarkovsky & Tonino Guerra - Tempo di viaggio aka Voyage in Time aka Travelling Time (1983)
Plot Summary :
Tarkovsky’s documentary explores the creation of the screenplay for his penultimate film ‘Nostalgia’. It shows his wide-ranging discussions with his Italian co-writer Tonino Guerra (Antonioni’s regular collaborator) and the hunt for suitable locations that might embody his vision of the film.
Tempo di Viaggio (Travelling Time) is intriguing and illuminating, particularly as it was made by Andrei Tarkovsky and Tonino Guerra themselves as they set about the preparation for the making of the director’s Italian film, Nostalghia.
It’s Tonino Guerra who is in the driving seat for the journey, taking his Russian guest around baroque Italian towns, mostly along the Amalfi coast, scouting for locations and inspiration for the tone and content of the movie. Tarkovsky complains that he feels like a tourist visiting guide-book attractions in foreign places that don’t speak to him and doesn’t feel he is gaining a true understanding of the people who live there, or the culture behind them. The journey however also serves to bring the two men together onto a similar or at least complementary wavelength in a way that would create one of Tarkovsky’s most difficult but rewarding films.
What is most fascinating about the documentary is how it offers the viewer a unique opportunity to see Tarkovsky off the film set, in regular surroundings, talking in a relaxed manner about himself and his thoughts on life and filmmaking. Although there are interview-like questions put to him by Guerra, the easy-going manner in which the two men are wandering around the Italian writer’s house and the ambience the location provides gives Tarkovsky the opportunity to answer them at his leisure and with openness. Hence we find out about the director’s influences, the filmmakers he admires, his thoughts on the role of a filmmaker and the projects he was never able to make. As Sokurov picks up in his documentary Moscow Elegy, there is as much revealed in the manner in which this is filmed as in what Tarkovsky actually says.
Andrei Tarkovsky is unquestionably one of the greatest filmmakers that Russia, and indeed the world, has ever seen. Although he made just seven feature films - among them ‘Andrei Rublev’, ‘Solaris’ and ’The Sacrifice’ - before his life was cut tragically short by cancer at the age of 54, each is an artistic master piece and a major landmark of world cinema. This exceptional body of work, characterised by metaphysical and spiritual explorations of the human condition and images of extraordinary beauty is one of the most influential and greatest in the history of cinema.