Sunday, March 25, 2007

ivanovo detstvo & die große stille

andrei tarkovsky: ivan's childhood 1963

tarkovsky said of ivan's childhood:
"generally people's memories are coloured by poetry. the most beautiful memories are those of childhood. of course memory has to be worked upon before it can become the basis of an artistic reconstruction of the past; and here it is important not to lose the particular emotional atmosphere without which a memory evoked in every detail merely gives rise to a bitter feeling of disappointment. there's an enormous difference, after all, between the way you remember the house in which you were born and which you haven't seen for years, and the actual sight of the house after a prolonged absence. usually the poetry of the memory is destroyed by confrontation with its origin" pp. 29

seeing this today in the theater, i was overwhelmed by the atmosphere tarkovsky created, and his subtle indications of war achieved through sound, costumes, blackened and abstracted landscapes, and flashing lights (falling from the sky). the war seemed distant and abstract, like it was not real. this "stratagem" turned ivan's childhood into a film about memory.

philip gröning: die große stille / into great silence 2005

i also watched into great silence today. mostly impressed by the film's sound design. the sound of bells, near and far, is ubiquitous. sometimes you see the bell ringer, sometimes not. you also hear the beautiful singing of the monks throughout, their footsteps, the creaking of their chairs, and many other delicate moments. some are clear, some reverberate in the distance.
there are also moments of humor, where a monk plays with cats, some bulls decide to enter the monastery, but most especially when the monks go sledding.
i have to say i had a problem with some formal elements of the film. i found the editing to be often heavy handed, with a lack of timing and grace. the photography was very inconsistent. at times it was truly beautiful and mysterious (the images of water were breathtaking), at times very clumsy. digital grain often made its way into the film, used in a way that just drew to much attention to itself.
in the end though i found it to be a beautiful film-going experience, but frustrated by some of the aesthetic decisions.

-sculpting in time, by andrei tarkovsky, univ. of texas press.


kclare said...

Beautiful Post!! I've still not seen "Ivan's Childhood" in a theater. I read Sculpting in Time many years ago, so I'm paraphrasing, but I always remember him saying that the "past is more resilient than the present" and that is part of the reason why the "remembered" house is so much more potent than the "actual" house...

the art of memory said...

what a beautiful movie on the big screen, i had only seen it on vhs, and it didn't hit me.
read critirion is putting it out.
i love the iceland/scotland (blo)ssoming (g)oat.
lots of goats over there.