Andrei Tarkovski Retrospective

Film Series



Michiel Riedijk, Stefano Milani, Henriette Bier, Marc Schoonderbeek




While the discussion of spatial issues in cinematic discourse is well established[1], aspects of cinema in architecture are less evident. The discussion of the influence and relevance of cinema for architecture has unfortunately mostly focused on the stage sets created for the enfolding drama of films, with Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari or Blade Runner as the classic examples of subliminal architectural expression in film. Only in a few exceptional instances has cinema been discussed with less factual and directly translated considerations. Manfredo Tafuri’s analysis of the ‘ambiguity of language’ in Sergei Eisenstein’s study on Piranesi’s Caceri constitutes a theoretical discussion of formal principles and techniques implemented in both disciplines.[2] The Manhattan Transcripts of Bernard Tschumi[3] is another exemplary project that offers a clear and highly original treating of cinema in terms of an architectural inquiry. Tschumi’s project offers an analysis of New York based on small-scale events and their spatial consequences. In this specific project, the architectural consideration of cinema is especially intriguing since it combines the implementation of specific formal techniques with the development of a system of representation that is related to the exploration of urban space. By following the small scenario’s scripts, the city is presented as a potentially interesting field of research where the relationships between space, image and daily life are explored. In this instance, and through the implementation of specifically developed spatial representations, aspects of architecture and cinema are brought into close proximity.
Andrei Tarkovski passed away 25 years ago, on 27 December 1986, not long after finishing his eighth film, Offret/The Sacrifice. To commemorate his extraordinary work, the BC group of the department of Public Building (chaired by Michiel Riedijk) in cooperation with Argus offers a Tarkovski retrospective during which 4 films are viewed and the relationship between architecture and cinema will be discussed. With this retrospective, the organizers intend to offer an extended exploration of the relationship between cinema and architecture. In cinema, explorations of space express temporality via issues of ‘context’, ‘exploration’, ‘ordering’, ‘narrative’ and ‘sequential imaging’. Tarkovski’s work is considered particularly relevant for architecture, as the themes of his films not only cover a variety of spatial and architectural topics, they form a very elaborate and integrated body of work as well where several dimensions of architecture come together. In Nostalghia, the cultural heritage experienced by an artist in exile is part of an extended exploration of the quest for artistic relevance coinciding with a longing for ‘home’. In Andrei Rublov, the role of intuition and reason in artistic practice forms the kernel of the film’s meditations. In Stalker, the voyage into an industrial wasteland becomes part of an inner journey towards salvation while the question of the border, of inclusion and exclusion, of freedom and imprisonment, are also part of the film’s narrative.

Perhaps what connects these films is the systematic deconstruction of the house as home. In each of these films, the house is both the place of being and belonging, as well as a haunted space, a place where elements of decay and alienation play a crucial role in the overall experience of space. The minimal (house) versus maximum (zone) place of dwelling in Stalker; the invasion, doubling and ultimately sacrificial destruction in Offret/Sacrifice; the return to the distant, fatherly home in Solaris and Nostalgia, appearing in dream-like sequences; or even the house of god in Rublov, where perhaps painting becomes the ultimate place of home at the end of the movie, are different manifestations of a recurring architectural theme in Tarkosvki’s work.


Tuesday 20 March:
introduced by Michiel Riedijk
Tuesday 27 March:
introduced by Stefano Milani
Tuesday 03 April:
Andrei Rublov
introduced by Henriette Bier

Tuesday 10 April
One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich, a film by Chris Marker
introduced by Marc Schoonderbeek

[1] See, for instance: Pudovkin’s distinction between ‘filmic time’ and ‘filmic space’ or Stephen Heath’s ‘narrative space’ and David Bordwell’s ‘scenographic space’ in film.
[2] Manfredo Tafuri, The Sphere and the Labyrinth; Avant-Gardes and Architecture from Piranesi to the 1970s (Cambridge (MA): The MIT Press, 1990), chapter 2: ‘The Historicity of the Avant-Garde: Piranesi and Eisenstein’, pp. 55-91.
[3] Bernard Tschumi, The Manhattan Transcripts (London: Academy Editions, 1994).

Andrei Tarkovski Retrospective