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Sculpting in Time

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  3,135 ratings  ·  212 reviews
An alternate cover edition can be found here.

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 Veni
Paperback, 254 pages
Published April 1st 1989 by University of Texas Press (first published 1984)
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4.51  · 
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 ·  3,135 ratings  ·  212 reviews

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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
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
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
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The Fyodor Dostoyevsky of film making.
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
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.

Owlseyes inside Notre Dame, it's so strange a 15-hour blaze and...30-minutes wait to call the firemen...and
"We know little about ourselves"

Perhaps, my favorite director.

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
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
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
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
vi macdonald
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.
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
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.
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
reading up prior to diving in (follow me on letterboxd)

Actually phenomenal, though. I’ve only seen ANDREI RUBLEV, which was so so good but kind of a beat down. This sort of re-piqued my interest in Tarkovsky’s stuff...hope to start watching again soon.
Adam Goddard
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5 - A fine meditation on art, aesthetics, film methodology and spirituality. A must read for any artist or individual with an interest in art
I found watching his films infinitely more rewarding.
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
time is the substance [film is] made of
Will Long
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Quite literally the definitive statement on his own work. The insight into his beliefs is invaluable. All hail the master.
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.
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
Laura Grace
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Holy wow. I want to memorise this entire book verbatim. A wise, uncompromising, still-utterly-relevant joy.
Jun 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: arts
Idealistic, romantic, religious, dogmatic, full of contradictions, intransigent and pretentious. Setting his own creative approach as a norm, everything that deviates from it sucks, while at the same time saying that everything is subjective anyways. Also constantly making an amalgam between his own perception on things, what is recorded, and the aesthetic experience of the spectator. Occasionally making some interesting remarks, but too few to make this book worthwile. Just skip it (unless you ...more
Dec 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: film makers, future film makers, artists
Recommended to Luisa by: film makers
Awesome. This book should be read by every person who aspires to be a film maker, even by those who want to be any kind of artist. Although I can't agree with him completely, I think he's one of the most important film makers of all the times. He explains things with such clarity, and makes it very simple to understand, he's not pretentious and I really appreciate that. I will carry this as my Bible from now on.
Jul 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
After reading this book I found myself revisiting Tarkovsky's films with a greater acknowledgment for his work. This book provided a unique insight into the ideology and thinking of the man himself, shedding light on the concepts and techniques that went into his films as well as Tarkovsky discussing the art form as a whole. It's a beautiful book and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in his work or just the art form of film-making in general.
Feb 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essays
This is an essential read for anyone interested in Tarkovsky's films. It's insightful to read about what his philosophy toward film was. I revere Tarkovsky's films, as well as those of his protege Sokurov, and other filmmakers with similar style, Bela Tarr for example. If you're interested The Mirror and The Sacrifice are both outstanding films. For Sokurov, check out Mother and Son, and for Tarr you should see Werckmeister Harmonies.
Oct 01, 2016 rated it liked it
in the end it was worth slogging thru the lame moralistic proclamations for the magical account of how mirror was made
Lawrence Barrow
Feb 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
By far the greatest film-maker in history
-- poetry in emotion pictures --
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Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky (Russian: Андрей Арсеньевич Тарковский) 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 directe
“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.” 103 likes
“ 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.” 58 likes
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