The title of the thesis might as well have been plainly Realism, in this manner, we could have already identified the current to which the artist belonged. Nevertheless, it is insufficient to say so little, even in the title, because the Russian director created a genuinely personal variation of realism. This must be observed at the very beginning, one should also wonder what degree of sophistication did the universe introduce to us in Tarkovsky’s pictures attain ad what synthesis does it represent at the end of the modern era. He was a realist from the beginning of his career, and he remained faithful to realism even in his ‘science fiction’ pictures: Solaris and Stalker. He has been a realist without any interruption, not only in the ‘traditional’ sense of the word that stems from the 19th century. And he remained faithful, he aimed stubbornly and persistently at stylistic and intellectual progress even in ‘the situation’, in times dominated by extreme dogmatism. In fact, he introduced himself with his very first motion picture, Road-roller and violin, as a director employing a well-rounded set of forms of expression based on the poetic interpretation of reality. He dedicated his career to finding and completing a new type of harmony between reality and artistic imagination. Tarkovsky’s symbolic or fantastic/fictionalised realism ought to be dealt with by using a framework or conceptual network that is appropriate for the interpretation of the motion picture’s concreteness, cinematographic realism, nature-principledness – that is, the relationship between subject, feeling towards life, attitude, fundamental idea and form of expression –; the post-war conception of realism vs the New Wave thinking, and finally, the Tarkovskyan personal kind of conception and recreation of reality. It is the realism of subject, of expression and at last that of space. ‘Reality’ ... What is it? The language of cinematography is a universal one. According to André Bazin, facts presented through it can be traced back to the concrete character of the image, of the frame itself – to the a priori universality being basically contained within the subject, or provided by the subject. In the meantime, we should on one hand avoid falling victims to the illusion that this language is ipso facto universally comprehensible, on the other hand we should grasp it as a phraseology that – being a sign standing for the concrete world – attempts to swap itself for it, moreover, to substitute it. (Bazin 1968) Fantasticality? ... This is what underpins the extraordinary persuasiveness of cinematography. Other arts are unable to conceal their means completely, cinematography is; being apparently devoid of secrets, it shuts out the reality used as starting point – meanwhile, ennobling it. Fantasticality ... We are not supposed to carry out a primarily morphological analysis, that is ‘merely’ a task to be accomplished and, such, should be reserved to those analyses that wish to be technical. Tarkovsky’s eight movies are certainly realist in what concerns the manner of portrayal/representation, however, their realism is not based on the sheer fixing of images, this mechanical and primitive activity, this vulgar realism could only serve to maintain that state of damnation which is the isolation and distance between man and world, man and man. The movie itself is not only the art of the dialectics of phenomena, but – see the image of man in the Tarkovskyan opera (Józsa 1998) – can also serve as a means for interpretation, deheroification and mythicisation. Moreover, (...) the realism of these pieces of art does not interest us for their realism as such. We are supposed to interpret thoughts – it is the secret of poets why these two approaches can be resourceful even without one another. Since we have to understand, first and foremost, the thoughts and their pictorial translations that Tarkovsky’s film attempt to place into recipient’s consciousness – preserving meanwhile, the deceitful appearance of reality.
The Realism of Expression (...) The camera is slowly, slowly, slowly approaching, moving forwards – on its way towards ... ‘reality’. Deep-drilling. Long cuts. The most realist of all the arts is unable (...) to grasp the whole ... reality, at last both the creator and the recipient have to choose. Tarkovsky uses not cut and mounted but continuous deep-drillings, and yet wishes – so to say – to introduce the spectator into the real world, dislocating him/her from the narrow circle that has been shaped until then by his/her self-awareness. The forms applied by his realism are sometimes totally different, nevertheless being of the same kind and degree of purity – remember the nuances represented by Road-roller and violin and Mirror, Solaris and Stalker inserted between the concrete things of the earthly world, moreover, ‘the situation’, respectively fiction.
Tarkovsky’s nature-principledness can be genuinely interpreted only if one is aware of the so-called second reality of his opera: the phenomena belonging to the collective consciousness of the era in which the artist lived provide the content of his movies, the film-maker recreates this through the trinity of subject, feeling towards life and fundamental idea, or rather the harmony of the personal forms of the above three. The "separate geometry" (Bíró 1998) of the represented actions and spaces is building an "other-world" (Gelencsér 1994), a "counter-world" (Almási 1992), an other "ideological structure" (Pavis 2003), and this new structure of values will be the base of dramaturgy. This nature-principledness concerns obviously the man and his world, and yet in the manner in which it is recreated, everyday reality is present only in terms of its moments and particularities that serve for recording and rating human relationships. These moments and particularities make possible the indirect representation of human relationships. It should be noted that the moods of the paintings he uses to quote or paraphrase allude on the level of the meta-movie to this very same tier: they characterize the Tarkovskyan human searching within the circumstances of social existence. First tier of reality, second, moreover third – these motion pictures have been regarded as difficult to understand, obscure. The recipient of a Tarkovsky-picture must ponder lengthily even after seeing the film several times until he/she can make out the director’s thoughts that are hidden behind the veil of representation and expression and embedded in the rich spiritual dimension of the cinematographic universe. for example, the ‘Zone’ is the quasi-science fiction movie Stalker illustrates eloquently that, first of all, we are seeing a series of characters or elements of the environment – we try to infer from the foreground images presenting them and their details – the importance of which lies not in their condition as phenomena, or rather as phaenomenons in a Baumgartenian sense. (Baumgarten 1760-1768) The foreground images and details make the recipient become firmly conscious of this fact, they give the viewer an impetus to interpret the images. Just remember with how much precaution is Stalker guiding his two companions: he throws screws, examines the soil, warns the other two to be very careful, because the Zone tends to revenge itself etc. Stalker speaks in fact from the beginning to the end about the human psyche. In a Tarkovsky-movie not only the human characters represent something else than themselves and amount to more than themselves, but the inanimate elements of the environment as well. Their presence is filled with sense exactly in this secret, concealed second reality. As Guido Aristarco has put it: like in the case of the modern, contemporary novel, in movies made by directors as Pasolini, Antonioni, Bergman, Godard and Rocha, not the ‘light’, but the ‘obscurity’ stands for the politeness of the artist with the reader or spectator. (Aristarco 1988) The first reality, based on the mere presence of characters, environment, scenery and the like is insufficient for this intimation, it serves just as a starting point – in the beginning for Tarkovsky and later on for the viewer, from where they can set out on their journey into the second reality. Our movie-maker breaks in Stalker the barriers of the naturalistic manner of representation when drawing the dim picture of the surrounding world, nonetheless, he makes use only of his well-known arsenal regarding the first reality – the ramshackle building as the symbol of ‘the system’ etc. –, while the action takes place throughout the whole picture in that specific, cloaked second reality. As the action progresses, parts of the world hidden in the second reality are revealed at appropriate points of ‘the path’ by Stalker’s words, i.e., the truths of the cognition through faith. Step by step, the characters reach the threshold of the room, it is the moment, when comprehending becomes possible: the enlightenment of the writer takes place – he does not want to enter eventually, it is also the moment when mistaking becomes possible: the professor, the scientist, reason commits an error – he is willing to blow the Zone up. Let us see, though, what happens in Andrey Rublyov, in this film lacking a main character in the traditional sense. In the balloon-scene, we follow the path chosen by the man wishing to detach himself from the earth, from his fellows. The separation is, however impossible, ‘the journey’ – we tend to say in the first reality – will possibly come to a tragic end. Nonetheless, we do not know this so far, the director is not going to present this any more. It is needless to do so. He is selective, omits things. The happening conveyed on the level of primary informations becomes a symbol through its conceptual projections; it can be interpreted and understood in its own second reality. It characterizes ‘the situation’ and, of course in the meantime, anticipates somehow the whole course of the picture’s second reality. Beginning with Solaris, this method becomes the typical narrative technique in Tarkovsky’s movies. We can regard his later films, or rather his entire opera, as a universal second reality that is nevertheless assembled of tiny, concrete and particular elements of reality. The existence and the features of the Tarkovskyan hidden world expresses a creative gift capable of showing and making comprehensible meanings of things that do not come to life and become clear on the tier of direct perception, but in the consciousness of the spectator, who on the first level receives the movie and on the second – and consequently on the highest – level lives the movie. (Gadamer 1960) And this is already equivalent to tempestuous introspection. (Józsa 1996)
‘The films are obscure’ ... ‘They are difficult to understand’ ... The intellect that perceives everything, or if you like, sees opens the way for the searching reason, which examines even itself. Hence, itself, its environment, ‘situation’, larger universe, and finally, the self-identity of the Whole will eventually shine without wearing the costumes of appearances. A Tarkovsky-picture is a series of such secondary visions, the viewer of Solaris, Andrey Rublyov, Stalker, Nostalghia, knows that behind the visible, realist image, there is another one which will prove to be even more faithful to reality throughout the process of receiving and comprehending. Thus, it is not otherwordly. It simply widens the frontiers of our knowledge of the world and of ourselves, of the self-interpretation of human existence. (Gadamer 1960) (...)
Consequently, we are not supposed to try and grasp the Tarkovskyan quasi-fantastic or historical reality neither on the basis of quantitative criteria, nor of ones that are qualitative in a material sense. The reason is that we have to express in words a process of purification. The director portrays his characters, events and things by simply leaving behind or denying some traits of characters and objects and salvaging others. These will later on allow their identification and will be preserved even in the second reality and – already by this very fact – emphasised, furthermore, these serve for introducing certain abstractions. He presents the material foundations of these abstractions without any ulterior alteration and deformation in their own reality and attaches even more abstractions to them, shaping in this manner an illusion of reality. It is an illusion which replaces the awareness of the real world in the spectator’s consciousness and just like the powerful gestures of the true creative geniuses leaves no escape to the former one. It is a novel image of reality which will live hereafter not only in the time-space of the motion picture, but outside the cinema as well ... The inventions of the artist and the spiritual forms react upon the artistic devices and, in consequence, upon the content of the movies, and at last primary and imagined reality as well as their living unity remain not only with the filmmaker. The communication with the viewer has taken place.
Bazin, André. 1968. Ce este cinematograful? Bucureşti, Editura Meridiane.
Józsa, István. 1998. A Tarkovszkij-filmek emberképe. In: Szabadulás a libertinok hatalmából. Szegedi Bölcsészfüzetek. Szeged, JATE.
Gelencsér, Gábor. 1994. Más-világ. Filmvilág, 1994.4.
Almási, Miklós.1992. Anti-esztétika. T-Twins-Pompeji, 65.
Pavis, Patrice.2003. Előadáselemzés, Balassi Kiadó, Budapest, 226.
Bíró, Yvette.1998. A hetedik művészet. Osiris Kiadó, Budapest, 272.
Baumgarten, Alexander. Aestethica. Baumgarten connected the aesthetics to the perception in gnoteological sense of the word. His basic concept 'perfectio phaenomena', the 'phenomena' entures a superficial, but perfect image of the world.
Aristarco, Guido. 1988. L’utopia cinematografica. Selleria editore, Palermo, second edition.
Gadamer, Hans-Georg. 1960. The three basic concepts of Gadamer’s Wahrheit und Methode are: comprehension, interpretation and application [praxis]. This later one is new for us the next important. The space of the application is already the context, movie and it’s effect is the hardest evidence here.
Józsa, István. 1996. A költő útja. In: Nouvelles tendences in literature camparéett. Új tendenciák a komparatisztikában. Szeged–Amiens. Juhász Gy. Tanítóképző Főiskola.
Hermeneutics defines the human existence as a project, the basis of this project is comprehension and interpretation. After Heidegger’s Grammatical circle, Gadamer's conclusion is that hermeneutica is the self-interpretation of the human existence.