How Renowned Russian Director Andrey Tarkovsky Transformed World Cinema

The influence of renowned Russian director Andrey Tarkovsky’s cinematic style, known as “Tarkovskian,” has spread from international film festivals to rock music videos and even video games, transforming world cinema.

In the history of world cinema, the Soviet Union had two standout periods – the 1920s, during the boom of avant-garde cinema, and the late 1950s and early 1960s, during the “Khrushchev Thaw” (which was named for the opening up of society under the eponymous Nikita, after the years of terror under Joseph Stalin).

While the legendary Sergei Eisenstein, and other giants of the pre-war period, developed techniques that influenced the filming and montage of modern blockbusters, pictures of the latter period inspired arthouse genres. 

Among the many post-war Soviet film directors, Andrey Tarkovsky had the greatest impact on world cinema. In 2018, the term “tarkovskian” – describing his unique “slow” and meditative style – was added to the Oxford Dictionary. Since Tarkovsky’s death in 1986, the influence of his cinematic style has spread from international film festivals to rock music clips and even video games.

Tarkovsky has a complicated reputation. His movies are often called “slow” and “boring.” However, he remains the only Russian filmmaker of the second half of the 20th century whose work has become a yardstick for representatives of arthouse cinema, and whose name has inspired a search for a successor – for example, Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and the Russian Andrey Zvyagintsev have both been called the “new Tarkovsky.” 

What is it that makes Tarkovsky and his work so unique?

“The Challenge,” the first blockbuster filmed in space, premiered in Russian theaters with actress Yulia Peresild starring as a surgeon.

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