Tarkovsky’s ‘Nostalghia’ and (almost) every Ozu hit New York repertory

Oleg Yankovskiy (with dog) plays a brooding poet in Andrei Tarkovsky's "Nostalghia." Credit: BAMcinematek
Oleg Yankovskiy (with dog) plays a brooding poet in Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Nostalghia.”
Credit: BAMcinematek

Andrei Tarkovsky’s ‘Nostalghia’

For a filmmaker known for slow and sometimes impenetrable work, Andrei Tarkovsky is relentlessly popular. Not many saw the faithfully sluggish remake of his “Solaris,” not even with George Clooney in the lead. But his films — including “Solaris,” plus “Andrei Rublev” and “Stalker” — are reliable repertory draws, packing houses with audiences willing to sit rapt in front of long, ponderous takes and mull over its naked philosophizing.

A new 35mm print of 1983′s “Nostalghia,” the Russian filmmaker’s sixth and penultimate film, is currently in a two-week run at Brooklyn’s BAMcinematek, which ends next Thursday. After “The Mirror,” it’s Tarkovsky’s most difficult piece: It’s largely plotless, and it saves its two most galvanizing set pieces for the end. The plot (if you will) concerns a brooding Russian poet tellingly named Andrei (Oleg Yankovskiy) who comes to Italy to research a composer, and soon gets caught up in the ravings of a lunatic (Erland Josephson) who thinks the modern world is rubbish.

The actions mirror the film’s making. Tarkovsky, too, had come to Italy from Russia, where filmmaking had, finally, become difficult for him. But he brought Russia with him. He’s possibly the only director to make Italy look miserable: It’s a film of decaying, disused old buildings, with water leaking through roofs or running through its floors. There’s a powerful sense of place, at once vivid and dreamlike, that triumphs over narrative. The critic J. Hoberman described it as “not so much a movie as a place to inhabit for two hours.”

At times he seems to be referencing himself, even mocking his reputation. “I’m tired of these sickeningly beautiful sights,” his doppelganger says early on, a nod to his films’ ability to find beauty in nature and man’s destruction of it. The climax, meanwhile, involves the carrying of a candle across a room — a scene that could be read as a joke if it wasn’t unexpectedly thrilling. “Nostalghia” also conveys his own anguish at the time. Made by a man of deep faith from a country that suppressed religion, it finds someone coming to a country that embraces God, only to find that he’s not there either.

If you go

“Nostalghia”
Through June 13
BAMcinematek
30 Lafayette Blvd.

Chishu Ryu plays a widowed father in Yasujiro Ozu's "Late Spring."
Chishu Ryu plays a widowed father in Yasujiro Ozu’s “Late Spring.”

Ozu @ Film Forum

“Tokyo Story” regularly makes best-ever lists, but there’s far more to Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu, even if the movies themselves are often almost the same. The filmmaker would often recycle and rework — and sometimes actually remake — certain stories, often about fathers and their too-close relationship with daughters. Ozu didn’t happen upon his mega-austere style till later in his long career. You have the chance to see what he was like early on in Film Forum’s heroic near-complete retro, which, starting Friday, eats up June and includes rarities in addition to established greats like “Late Spring,” “Early Summer” and “Floating Weeds.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Labor Day in NYC: Make the last weekend…

Soon, it’ll be time for wool accessories and knee-high boots. Even the Pumpkin Spice Latte has already arrived — but we still have one last…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…