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Andrei Tarkovsky quotes (showing 1-30 of 68)

“Let everything that's been planned come true. Let them believe. And let them have a laugh at their passions. Because what they call passion actually is not some emotional energy, but just the friction between their souls and the outside world. And most important, let them believe in themselves. Let them be helpless like children, because weakness is a great thing, and strength is nothing. When a man is just born, he is weak and flexible. When he dies, he is hard and insensitive. When a tree is growing, it's tender and pliant. But when it's dry and hard, it dies. Hardness and strength are death's companions. Pliancy and weakness are expressions of the freshness of being. Because what has hardened will never win.”
Andrei Tarkovsky
“Some sort of pressure must exist; the artist exists because the world is not perfect. Art would be useless if the world were perfect, as man wouldn’t look for harmony but would simply live in it. Art is born out of an ill-designed world.”
Andrei Tarkovsky
“We can express our feelings regarding the world around us either by poetic or by descriptive means. I prefer to express myself metaphorically. Let me stress: metaphorically, not symbolically. A symbol contains within itself a definite meaning, certain intellectual formula, while metaphor is an image. An image possessing the same distinguishing features as the world it represents. An image — as opposed to a symbol — is indefinite in meaning. One cannot speak of the infinite world by applying tools that are definite and finite. We can analyse the formula that constitutes a symbol, while metaphor is a being-within-itself, it's a monomial. It falls apart at any attempt of touching it.”
Andrei Tarkovsky
“I know only one thing. when i sleep, i know no fear, no, trouble no bliss. blessing on him who invented sleep. the common coin that purchases all things, the balance that levels shepherd and king, fool and wise man. there is only one bad thing about sound sleep. they say it closely resembles death.”
Andrei Tarkovsky, Solaris
“A man writes because he is tormented, because he doubts. He needs to constantly prove to himself and the others that he’s worth something. And if I know for sure that I’m a genius? Why write then? What the hell for?”
Andrei Tarkovsky
“Modern mass culture, aimed at the 'consumer', the civilisation of prosthetics, is crippling people's souls, setting up barriers between man and the crucial questions of his existence, his consciousness of himself as a spiritual being.”
Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time
“It is obvious that art cannot teach anyone anything, since in four thousand years humanity has learnt nothing at all. We should long ago have become angels had we been capable of paying attention to the experience of art, and allowing ourselves to be changed in accordance with the ideals it expresses. Art only has the capacity, through shock and catharsis, to make the human soul receptive to good. It’s ridiculous to imagine that people can be taught to be good…Art can only give food – a jolt – the occasion – for psychical experience.”
Andrei Tarkovsky
“The film [Stalker] needs to be slower and duller at the start so that the viewers who walked into the wrong theatre have time to leave before the main action starts.”
Andrei Tarkovsky
“I am only interested in the views of two people: one is called Bresson and one called Bergman.”
Andrei Tarkovsky
“Never try to convey your idea to the audience - it is a thankless and senseless task. Show them life, and they’ll find within themselves the means to assess and appreciate it.”
Andrei Tarkovsky
“...what nobody seems to understand is that love can only be one-sided, that no other love exists, that in any other form it is not love. If it involves less than total giving, it is not love. It is impotent; for the moment it is nothing.”
Andrei Tarkovsky
tags: love
“A book read by a thousand different people is a thousand different books.”
Andrei Tarkovsky
“...art must must carry man's craving for the ideal, must be an expression of his reaching out towards it; that art must give man hope and faith. And the more hopeless the world in the artist's version, the more clearly perhaps must we see the ideal that stands in opposition - otherwise life becomes impossible! Art symbolises the meaning of our existence.”
Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time
“What is art? (...) Like a declaration of love: the consciousness of our dependence on each other. A confession. An unconscious act that none the less reflects the true meaning of life—love and sacrifice.”
Andrei Tarkovsky
“My encounter with another world and another culture and the beginnings of an attachment to them had set up an irritation, barely perceptible but incurable-rather like unrequited love, like a symptom of the hopelessness of trying to grasp what is boundless, or unite what cannot be joined; a reminder of how finite, how curtailed, our experience on earth must be”
Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time
“When less than everything has been said about a subject, you can still think on further. The alternative is for the audience to be presented with a final deduction (...) no effort on their part.
What can it mean to them when they have not shared with the author the misery and joy of bringing an image into being?”
Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time
“Poetry is an awareness of the world, a particular way of relating to reality.”
Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time
“Man has, since the Enlightenment, dealt with things he should have ignored.”
Andrei Tarkovsky
“The director’s task is to recreate life, its movement, its contradictions, its dynamic and conflicts. It is his duty to reveal every iota of the truth he has seen, even if not everyone finds that truth acceptable. Of course an artist can lose his way, but even his mistakes are interesting provided they are sincere. For they represent the reality of his inner life, of the peregrinations and struggle into which the external world has thrown him.”
Andrei Tarkovsky
“Substitution . . . the infinite cannot be made into matter, but it is possible to create an illusion of the infinite: the image.”
Andrei Tarkovsky
“It is a mistake to talk about the artist looking for his subject. In fact, the subject grows within him like a fruit and begins to demand expression. It is like childbirth. The poet has nothing to be proud of. He is not master of the situation, but a servant. Creative work is his only possible form of existence, and his every work is like a deed he has no power to annul. For him to be aware that the sequence of such deeds is due and ripe, that it lies in the very nature of things, he has to have faith in the idea; for only faith interlocks the system of images for which read system of life.”
Andrei Tarkovsky
“Man is born unto the trouble as the sparks fly upwards.' In other words suffering is germane to our existence; indeed, how without it, should we be able to 'fly upwards”
Andrei Tarkovsky
“Late this evening I looked at the sky and saw the stars. I felt as if it was the first time I had ever looked at them.
I was stunned.
The stars made an extraordinary impression on me”
Andrei Tarkovsky, Journal 1970-1986
“Clearly the hardest thing for the working artist is to create his own conception and follow it, unafraid of the strictures it imposes, however rigid these may be... I see it as the clearest evidence of genius when an artist follows his conception, his idea, his principle, so unswervingly that he has this truth of his constantly in his control, never letting go of it even for the sake of his own enjoyment of his work.”
Andrei Tarkovsky
“Artistic creation, after all, is not subject to absolute laws, valid from age to age; since it is related to the more general aim of mastery of the world, it has an infinite number of facets, the vincula that connect man with his vital activity; and even if the path towards knowledge is unending, no step that takes man nearer to a full understanding of the meaning of his existence can be too small to count.”
Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time
“Art is a meta-language, with the help of which people try to communicate with one another; to impart information about themselves and assimilate the experience of others. Again, this has not to do with practical advantage but with realising the idea of love, the meaning of which is in sacrifice: the very antithesis of pragmatism. I simply cannot believe that an artist can ever work only for the sake of 'self-expression.' Self-expression if meaningless unless it meets with a response. For the sake of creating a spiritual bond with others it can only be an agonising process, one that involves no practical gain: ultimately it is an act of sacrifice. But surely it cannot be worth the effort merely for the sake of hearing one's own echo?”
Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time
“The beautiful is hidden from the eyes of those who are not searching for the truth, for whom it is contra-indicated. But the profound lack of spirituality of those people who see art and condemn it, the fact that they are neither willing nor ready to consider the meaning and aim of their existence in any higher sense, is often masked by the vulgarly simplistic cry, 'I don't like it!', 'It's boring!' It is not a point that one can argue; but it like the utterance of a man born blind who is being told about a rainbow. He simply remains deaf to the pain undergone by the artist in order to share with others the truth he has reached.”
Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time
“When I speak of the aspiration towards the beautiful, of the ideal as the ultimate aim of art, which grows from a yearning for that ideal, I am not for a moment suggesting that art should shun the 'dirt' of the world. On the contrary! the artistic image is always a metonym, where one thing is substituted for another, the smaller for the greater. To tell of what is living, the artist uses something dead; to speak of the infinite, he shows the finite. Substitution... the infinite cannot be made into matter, but it is possible to create an illusion of the infinite: the image.”
Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time
“το αν θα τα καταφέρουμε ή όχι εξαρτάται από τον δικό μας αυτοσεβασμό και από την ικανότητά μας να ξεχωρίζουμε ανάμεσα σε αυτό που έχει σημασία και στο απλώς εφήμερο.”
Andrei Tarkovsky
“Si alguien intenta llegar a ser director de cine, está arriesgando su vida entera, y él es el único responsable de ese riesgo”
Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time

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