Andrei TarkovskyItaly / USSR126 minutes1983ColourB&WRussian Italian
A lush, mystical contemplation of exile, madness, and the end of the world, Nostalghia is among Tarkovsky's most ravishing films. While in Tuscany researching the life of an 18th-century Russian composer who lived in Italy, musicologist Andrei Gorchakov (Oleg Yankovsky) encounters holy madman Domenico (Erland Josephson, star of Tarkovsky's final film The Sacrifice), who is awaiting Armageddon. Haunted by memories of his homeland, Gorchakov eventually undertakes the redemptive ritual which Domenico believes will save the world; and in his (and the film's) ecstatic final vision, Russia and Italy, East and West, are conflated in the image of a snowy Russian country house walled within the ruins of the abbey of San Galgano. Made in Italy after Tarkovsky was exiled from the Soviet Union, Nostalghia mourns many worlds that are passing or past: Tarkovsky's lost Mother Russia, the spiritual certainty and solace of Christianity, and medieval art and religion. "This is a film which turns the spectacle of an ancient, leaky cellar — slow droplets bombarding a futile cluster of green or brown bottles — into an image as memorable as any this century" (J. Hoberman).