Notebook

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An inspired teacher enabled me, thirty years ago, to discover the art of Tarkovsky. With amazement I saw what heights cinema could reach. Last night I found myself watching, again, Andrei Rublev. A curious way of spending the eve of Christmas Eve? No, wholly appropriate. Tarkovsky evidences the sheer, superhuman cost of leaving an image of the divine in this world. One appreciates what it might mean when Scripture says the incarnate Son of God ’emptied himself’; what it might mean for us to ‘put on Christ’. Andrei Rublev is a celluloid icon.

Tarkovsky defected to the West because, he said, Soviet authorities spat on his soul. Yet later he testified: ‘The longer I stay in the West, the more I find that man has lost his inner freedom. In the West, everybody has their rights, but in an internal, spiritual sense, there is no doubt more freedom in the Soviet Union.’ A haunting statement made by one not given to superficial rhetoric.