The Russian word “nostalghia” carries a stronger, more forceful meaning than its English cognate, implying the pain of separation from one’s roots. Tarkovsky’s first film shot outside of Russia (and his second NYFF appearance, following Andrei Rublev 17 years earlier) offers several variations on this theme in his portrait of a melancholic Russian poet, Gorchakov (played by the wonderful Oleg Yankovskiy) traveling through Italy while researching the life of an 18th-century composer. Along his way, he forms a strange bond with a local madman (Bergman stalwart Erland Josephson) who shares his feelings of alienation and despair. A work of hypnotic, sumptuous beauty, Nostalghia is a cry of despair for the death of culture and tradition. But can a world that produces art like this really be beyond saving? Winner of Best Director at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival.
“As other-worldly as Solaris, more hypnotic than Stalker, Nostalghia is a work of sumptuous physical beauty that inexorably builds to an awesomely emotional climax.”
–NYFF21 program note