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Sculpting in Time

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  4,201 ratings  ·  304 reviews
Andrey Tarkovsky, the genius of modern Russian cinema--hailed by Ingmar Bergman as "the most important director of our time"--died an exile in Paris in December 1986. In Sculpting in Time, he has left his artistic testament, a remarkable revelation of both his life and work. Since Ivan's Childhood won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1962, the visionary quali ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 1st 1989 by University of Texas Press (first published 1984)
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Sep 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
The greatest director and very bad methodologist. He is the only one, there is no one like him and every one who tried to follow his method suffered different kinds of failure. I personally acquainted with people whose whole life collapsed under Tarkovsky's colossus. The scale of his talent and its main feature: ability to erect his own personal life experiences to the scale of something universal, attracts a lot of young filmmakers and they all end up destroying their own talent, just because o ...more
Dec 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will expound developments I made while reading the great Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky’s poetic accounts, and they will collectively be an indirect review in the process...

After reading Tarkovsky’s autobiography, I can’t help but feel utterly overwhelmed, disturbed, and changed in some profound way. My own considerations and world views have been upturned. Parts of Sculpting in Time were so engrossing and beautifully told (even penetrating the sometimes overly literal translation of Kitty
Steven Godin
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing

"I love cinema. There is still a lot that I don't know: what I am going to work on, what shall I do later, how everything will turn out, whether my work will actually correspond to the principles to which I now adhere, to the system of working hypotheses I put forward. There are too many temptations on every side: stereotypes, preconceptions, commonplaces, artistic ideas other than one's own. And really it's so easy to shoot a scene beautifully, for effect, for acclaim . . . But you only have to
Jul 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
"I see it as my duty to stimulate reflection on what is essentially human and eternal in each individual soul, and which all too often a person will pass by, even though his fate lies in his hands. He is too busy chasing after phantoms and bowing down to idols. In the end everything can be reduced to the one simple element which is all a person can count upon in his existence: the capacity to love. That element can grow within the soul to become the supreme factor which determines the meaning of ...more
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The Fyodor Dostoyevsky of film making.
Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, philosophy
Andrei Tarkovsky has much in common with Dostoevsky in the sense that his movies move at a deliberate, slow pace with drawn out panning movements and long takes. They need extra effort from the viewer to appreciate them. His movies are much concerned with the "inner life" and the psychological truths of his characters.

In this book he shares his ideas on filmmaking. Gives us an insight into the rules and methods that Tarkovsky set for himself in making his movies. Not a technical treatise but mor
Rogerio Brugnera
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"We all know the tradicional genre of ancient Japanese poetry, the haikku. [Sergei] Eisensteinquoted some examples:

'Coldly shining moon;
near the ancient monastery
a wolf is howling'

'Silent in the field
a butterfly was flying
then it fell asleep'

Eisenstein saw in these three line verses the model for how the combination of three separate elements creates something different in kind from any of them. Since this principle was already there in haikku, however, it is clearly not exclusive to cinema.

I like movies. That being said, I'm not obsessed with movies. My field is literature, because writing is my happy medium of conveying thoughts and feelings. However, I bought this book for a friend of mine who is obsessed with both literature and movies, and who can appreciate it fully. I loved the book - Tarkovsky is a surprisingly good writer - and I took from it a lot with regards to movie making, the relatio ships between the director and the actors, the audience and transmitting enough info ...more
Jun 02, 2013 marked it as to-read
"We know little about ourselves"

Perhaps, my favorite director.

Jan 31, 2015 rated it liked it
For some reason I went into this thinking I'd get a book about his thoughts and information on his films but that ended up being about 20 pages total with the rest being pseudo philosophy and other musings. I'd only recommend this to people who are already fans of his filmography and not those who are interested in general film theory.

Alas, here are are what I took to be the noteworthy points raised in the book:
1. Tarkovsky believes that the director ought not try to satisfy the audience as this
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Something of a blog post:

I am currently working on a playscript concerned with his exile and death, though using an analogue to explore my relationship with my father. This short work was an invaluable insight, especially alongside his journals, which are important as a further revelation of his personality, his relationship with his family, being plagued by doubt, his humanity. This is what he wanted to be, what he wanted to project, what he wanted to want to be. He was a tragic figure. I wond
Philippe Malzieu
Feb 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The first Tarkovski's movie that I saw was his last one "the sacrifice". He died few time after in Paris. It is one of the most beautiful film ever made. It was turned in Féroé, the Bergman'isle with Nyqvist his director of the photograph and one of his prefered actor Erland Josephson.
Nuclear war threatens. Man passes a pact with God. If his family is saved in the morning, he gives up speaking. After a night agitated his family is saved. He decides to pass for insane so respecting the pact. The
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
“Perhaps our capacity to create is evidence that we ourselves were created in the image and likeness of God?”

Tarkovsky has done more to challenge and shape my thinking about cinema as art than has any other single director. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Each and every chapter is a goldmine.
Kamal Ziadah
May 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Andrey Tarkovsky's Sculpting In Time. One of the best books ever written about cinema by one of the greatest cinema directors of all .time In Sculpting In Time the visionary filmmaker and artist explains the seven art, his work, poetry and creativity ...more
Jan 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"Dostoevsky read by the light of two candles. He didn’t like lamps. He smoked a lot while he worked and occasionally drank strong tea. He led a monotonous life, starting off in Staraya Russya (the prototype of the town where Karamazov lived). His favourite colour — the waves of the sea. He often dresses his heroines in that colour." ...more
Nov 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A book that both inspired me immensely, and aided in destroying all interest I had in film. Every film student should read this, even if they don't enjoy his work. I think his ideas are far greater than his films. His way of explaining is a bit off-beat, and reminded me of Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky quite a lot (see Concerning the Spiritual in Art - Highly recommended to anyone who enjoyed this, by the way). In this book Tarkovsky explains the methods behind his films; and not in a techni ...more
Paul Ataua
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My stay at home project number 1 was to re-watch every Tarkovsky movie I could get my hands on and then read ‘Sculpting in Time’ where the director discusses his art. The films were haunting, but not completely necessary to get the full value of the book. The book was absolutely stunning and probably the best book on film I have ever read. Tarkovsky begins by teasing out what film art is and how it differs from other art forms, and then works his way through different aspects of film making incl ...more
Mary Beth
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“My function is to make whoever sees my films aware of his need to love and to give his love, and aware that beauty is summoning him.”

Wow. This book. Tarkovsky is a genius and the rare humble kind of genius. He put so excellently into words things I feel I’ve always known had but no ability to articulate.
So much about art and film can me learned from this book and I loved the insight into his films.
Çağatay Boz
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Tarkovsky for me is the greatest, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream."

These are the words of Ingmar Bergman, another very influential director. I count myself lucky to have watched these fellas' films, not only because they're pretty good but also they've got depth. With this masterpiece of Tarkovsky, I had the chance to access to the very mind of this genius.

Sculpting In Time is fairly plain, just like his films
vi macdonald
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Andrei Tarkovsky is the greatest filmmaker of the 20th Century, there's just no disputing this fact.
His writings on film, presented here, are indispensable to anyone interested in film.
Aaron Arnold
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's always a pleasure when great artists talk about the art that they consider great and why. Tarkovsky would be a cinema legend if all he had ever done was Stalker, but here he shows, even beyond the evidence of his other films, that he's articulate and insightful enough about art in general to be worth reading for his criticism alone. In this essay collection he uses his own movies as specific examples of his general aesthetic philosophy, but his real sights are set a bit higher than his own ...more
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"The allotted function of art is not, as is often assumed, to put across ideas, to propagate thoughts, to serve as example. The aim of art is to prepare a person for death, to plough and harrow his soul, rendering it capable of turning to good." ...more
Johnny Clyde
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Simply the greatest book I have ever read. It will last forever. It took me this long to read because I found myself having to read each page 2-3 times. I think that I've barely even scratched the surface of it still. Re-reading it will likely prove how layered this book really is.
Not only a masterclass for cinema, but also for art in general. And life as an artist really. I loved it to death.
عبد الحميد بوحسين
i like tarkovsky's films , but after i read this book i start to watch films in a different way , every dettail is important, the music, the silence , the script, i knew that , but i start to open my eyes and catch the time ! ...more
Luke Poff
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, favorites, 2020
The closest I can come to describing the way Tarkovsky writes is "lucid depth". His prose is simultaneously clear and packed with philosophical richness. It's challenging in the best possible way.

Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“Perhaps our capacity to create is evidence that we ourselves were created in the image and likeness of God?”

There isn’t a section of this book that’s not a treasure for you to find and explore and ponder and delight in. A challenging and necessary work.
Benjamin Ma
Apr 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It's an influencial film language book. The concept and technique of film making is so brilliant. He's my ultimate film maker.
Wouter Klinkenberg
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: film-directing
One of the best books, if not the best book on art, philosophy, life I have ever read. Absolute must-read.
Richard Wu
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
The answer is yes, a film can be an argument. Five years ago my very vegan roommate sat down the entire apartment for a viewing of Forks Over Knives, a blatantly propagandistic piece claiming near-miraculous health outcomes for all and any who eschew the meatier delights of our terrestrial realm. Needless to say, arguments can fail. But one need not constrain the argumentative notion to the select portion of documentaries fabricated with explicit messages and aims in mind, for, in a broader and ...more
May 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
No question bothered humanity so much than the question of their own purpose in this vast cosmos. Since the inception of human culture mankind has always suffered through meaninglessness and absurdity. As every culture and society are the products of man's necessity,we were always keen to create imaginative world which became the dwelling places of our ego. This might have been the case behind the origin of our spiritual life. To escape from the material life that only reminds us of our mortalit ...more
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Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky (Russian: Андре́й Арсе́ньевич Тарко́вский) was a Soviet film director, writer and opera director. Tarkovksy is listed among the 100 most critically acclaimed filmmakers. He attained critical acclaim for directing such films as Andrei Rublev, Solaris and Stalker.

Tarkovsky also worked extensively as a screenwriter, film editor, film theorist, and theater director. He dir

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