Art & Film: Rembrandt/Tarkovsky


From the canvas to the cinema.

David Liu | 21 January 2013

imageThe Return of the Prodigal Son (Rembrandt, 1669; oil on canvas)

imageSolaris (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1972)

In the end: a dog, a father and a son. Like the works of Rembrandt, Tarkovsky’s adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s 1961 science fiction novel reveals a consummate humanist at work — an artist for whom the individual search for redemption transcends the realms of faith and waking consciousness.

Ivan’s Childhood

Ива́ново де́тство (Ivan’s Childhood). This was my second TarkovskySolaris was amazing. This one is impressive, especially for his first film. It’s told non-linearly with occasional flashbacks, memories, dreams, and voiceovers creeping in. Ivan is a child orphan who, when we meet him, is doing recon/intelligence for the Soviets during World War II. This movie has a similar gritty take on the war that you find in The Cranes Are Flying. It’s less rhapsodic, but the black and white photography is just as ridiculously good. My favorites are the haunting nighttime scenes along the riverbanks and swamps, and the scenes in those Russian birch forests that are just impossible to make look bad. Criterion essay.


Color photograph of a set from Tarkovsky’s “Nostalghia”, in which the director built a 1/3 scale model of his childhood home within the ruins of a bombed out cathedral.

via judesays

Solaris (1972)

Solaris, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. I like this one much more in hindsight than when I was actually watching it. But I have to say it’s given much more post-viewing food-for-thought than its cousin, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Now that it’s over, I kind of want to watch it again. It’s much more introspective than the Kubrick, and it’s beautifully shot with some truly “wow” moments. I give it a thumbs-up for when you’ve got some patience to let it linger.

Roger Ebert on Solaris. Phillip Lopate on Solaris (“Watching this 169-minute work is like catching a fever, with night sweats and eventual cooling brow”).