We celebrate a legendary film studio and two of Russian cinema’s greatest Andreis, Tarkovsky and Konchalovsky, with Solaris (1972) and The Story of Asya Klyachina (1966). Melbourne Cinémathèque’s co-curator Cerise Howard provides an overview as well as notes on each film:
For week three of the Virtual Cinémathèque we have put together a program celebrating two seminal films, each made by Russian filmmakers with storied careers that intersected and overlapped in the 1960s and 70s.
One filmmaker’s career was undoubtedly stellar but sadly abbreviated (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1932–86, represented by the deathless, metaphysical sci-fi epic Solaris), the other wildly divergent and ongoing (Andrei Konchalovsky, b. 1937, represented by The Story of Asya Klyachina, which was made in 1966, but suppressed until 1987).
Before fully forging his own directorial career – one that would eventually take him to Hollywood in the ‘80s and see him helming Runaway Train (1985) and even Tango & Cash (1989) – Andrei Konchalovsky co-scripted Tarkovsky’s sublime first three studio films: The Steamroller and the Violin (1961), Ivan's Childhood (1962) and Andrei Rublev (1966) – but the links don’t end there, as Greg Dolgopolov’s excellent backgrounder from Senses of Cinema on the beautiful collective farm-set neo-realist drama The Story of Asya Klyachina (aka Asya’s Happiness) makes clear.
In our extensive range of supplementary textual and audiovisual materials, compiled to enrich and contextualise viewings of these wonderful films, we’ve included a short interview with Konchalovsky on Tarkovsky as well as video considerations of Tarkovsky and Solaris by Will Self and Slavoj Žižek. Further video offerings include a lengthy interview with Tarkovsky from 1982 as well as his student film The Killers (1956), and there’s penetrative writing on the mysteries of Solaris provided by Phillip Lopate and Acquarello.
– Cerise Howard
Please feel free to join in the conversation using the #acmivirtualcteq hashtag this Wednesday 8 April or at another time that suits you.
Keep safe and all the best,
The Melbourne Cinémathèque committee & ACMI
How to watch
This week our double feature is streaming for free on YouTube. Simply click on the links to each film below, and make sure you enable English subtitles in the video!