Chris Marker’s ‘One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevitch’ is perhaps the best film yet made by one (great) film-maker about another. A revelatory document, loving, lucid and lyrical, on the elemental structuring of Tarkovsky’s work, it marries moving footage of the terminally ill director shooting and struggling to finish his final film ‘The Sacrifice’ with an exemplary assessment of the films and their importance, humane, humble and always open. In its own essential way, it too is a masterpiece. —Gareth Evans, The Andrei Tarkovsky Companion
‘One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevitch’ is just about the best analysis you will find of Andrei Tarkovsky’s film style. In this exceptional film Chris Marker, in his stylistic video essay format, parallels the life of Russia’s most talented director, Andrei Tarkovsky, with his most recognized films. He points out that in the first scene of Tarkovsky’s first film a boy is standing at the foot of a live tree, and in his last film a man is lying at the foot of a dying tree. He points out how this symbolizes the great circle of Tarkovsky’s life which was encompassed within his films. I feel that this metaphor best puts the film, and the life and works of Tarkovsky into perspective. Marker is second to none when it comes to interpreting film. He helps explain many of the obscurities found within Andrei’s films perfectly, helping you realize something that you may have missed watching them the first time around.Simultaneously, he describes the life and mind of Tarkovsky; discussing how the great director thought and was involved in every aspect of the making of his films. Marker was granted complete access to the set of Tarkovsky’s final film, ‘The Sacrifice,’ and the room in which the greatest Russian director of all time lay on his deathbed. This is some of the greatest footage of Andrei ever taken, and is a MUST see for all of his fans. In the footage in which Tarkovsky is editing this, his final film, from his hospital bed, Marker succeeds in showing how the frail man was able to keep up his and the spirits of others, despite the obvious fate that would soon follow. Tarkovsky would die before this film was released. Thus Marker was given the privilege of creating a final testament on the life and work of one of, if not the, greatest director’s in the history of cinema; and I couldn’t imagine anyone doing a better job. Rest in peace Andrei, the world is a much bleaker place without you, but you will NEVER be forgotten!
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