One Day In The Life Of Andrei Arsenevich

As the title’s reference to Solzhenitsyn implies, this superb 1999 video portrait of the late Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky by his friend Chris Marker is a protest against the post-Stalinist persecution that eventually drove Tarkovsky into exile. But above all this is a work of film criticism and the best one dealing with Tarkovsky that I know, full of clarifying insights. Marker sees Tarkovsky’s seven features and his staging of the opera Boris Godunov as a kind of continuum that also echoes his lifea dangerous way to interpret the work of a complex artist, yet Marker justifies it through his obvious close acquaintance with the man and his films. In some ways a companion piece to The Last Bolshevik, Marker’s earlier video about Russian filmmaker Alexander Medvedkin, this is more metaphysical in nature, in keeping with its subject. Essential viewing. In French with subtitles. 55 min. (JR)

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