Friday, 11 May 2012

Andrei Tarkovsky: A Photographic Chronicle of The Making of The Sacrifice

This latest addition to the Tarkovsky library takes an intimate look at the making of the Russian film maker's final masterpiece The Sacrifice, shot during the summer of 1985 on the Swedish island of Gotland.


Author Layla Alexander-Garrett who worked as Tarkovsky's interpreter and liaison between the director and the film's Swedish crew, took over two hundred photographs whilst on set recording the process of making the film as well as Tarkovsky's life in Sweden. The Sacrifice has already been the subject of the 1988 documentary Directed By Andrei Tarkovsky but Alexander-Garrett's book offers a different take on the film's production - rather than showing Tarkovsky as the serious artist (as portrayed in the documentary, intensely focused, framing shots with his hands), these photos show the director, and cast and crew relaxed, upbeat and friendly. Each of the photos are accompanied by scene-setting English text (side by side with Russian text) and are often fascinating - Tarkovsky having an entire field plucked of yellow flowers before shooting, actor Erland Josephson snoozing between takes or Tarkovsky and cameraman Sven Nykvist waiting to play a game of tennis. I've taken my own pics of the book to offer a flavor of what's inside...








Andrei Tarkovsky: A Photographic Chronicle of The Making of The Sacrifice published by Cygnnet Books is currently available direct from Cygnnet's website, or can be ordered from the publisher via Amazon UK Marketplace. The book retails for £32.95, which may seem steep but no doubt will command high prices when the print run has been exhausted. For Tarkovsky fans, the book is an essential purchase.

8 comments:

  1. This looks like a nice book, Wes. I had Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky on tape a few years back and watched it a lot - it's a fascinating documentary of the master at work. Good to see him relaxing with a glass of wine and chatting up the pretty girls!

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  2. Yeah, the pics of Tarkovsky just hanging around were my favourite in the book - considering the director has something of a fearsome reputation, these were a real surprise. There's lots of fascinating commentary in the book, like Tarkovsky threatening to take his name off the film had the producers not allowed him to reshoot the one-take climactic housefire.

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  3. That is the moment I always remember from the documentary - Tarkovsky's reaction when he's told that the camera jammed! Take his name off? The Sacrifice directed by Alan Smithee?

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  4. Oh incredible. I'm still amazed at the audacity of doing that scene in one take, orchestrating all the elements in the frame. Funnily enough, there's a picture early on in the book of Tarkovsky ceremoniously smashing a bottle of champagne to bring good luck for the shoot, and the bottle refused to break, which Tarkovsky felt was a bad omen...

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  5. Pretty interesting stuff. Admittedly, I've never seen a Tarkovsky film, though I've had "Andrei Rublev" in my imdb watchlist for quite awhile.

    After reading this post, I'm definetly going to have to get to watching that one soon, as he seems rather interesting.

    Another great post, Wes. Keep up the good work :)

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  6. Many thanks Tumac. Tarkovsky is an aquired taste to be sure - his films are slow and serious (I've heard people saying they could only enjoy Solaris with the firmly finger pressed on the ffw button) but his films are genuinely mesmerizing and contain images like you've never seen. Thanks for the great comment, much too kind!

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  7. I'm a little ashamed to admit that the only film by Andrei Tarkovsky that I've seen is Stalker - which I really liked. He seems to be a fascinating character and anyone I know who admires his work, REALLY admires it.

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  8. Yeah, I am a Tarkovsky groupie I must say, I managed to see most of his films in my teens so they remain milestones in my film-watching life. James, be sure to catch Solaris and Mirror sometime - they usually turn up on the graveyard shift on Film4...

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