Archive for the Cinema Category

Mirror

Posted in Art, Philosophy, Cinema with tags on June 28, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

Andrei Tarkovsky with Margarita Terekhova - Mirror

We have almost totally lost sight of the beautiful as a criterion of art: in other words, of the aspiration to express the ideal. Every age is marked by the search for truth. And however grim that truth, it still contributes to the moral health of humanity. Its recognition is a sign of a healthy time and can never be in contradiction with the moral idea. Attempts to hide the truth, cover it, keep it secret, artificially setting it against a distorted moral ideal on the assumption that the latter will be repudiated in the eyes of the majority by the impartial truth—can only mean that ideological interests have been substituted for aesthetic criteria. Only a faithful statement about the artist’s time can express a true, as opposed to a propagandist, moral ideal.

This was the theme of Andrey Rublyov. It looks at first sight as if the cruel truth of life as he observes it is in crying contradiction with the harmonious ideal of his work. The crux of the question, however, is that the artist cannot express the moral ideal of his time unless he touches all its running sores, unless he suffers and lives these sores himself. That is how art triumphs over grim, ‘base’ truth, clearly recognising it for what it is, in the name of its own sublime purpose: such is its destined role. For art could almost be said to be religious in that it is inspired by commitment to a higher goal.

Devoid of spirituality, art carries its own tragedy within it. For even to recognise the spiritual vacuum of the times in which he lives, the artist must have specific qualities of wisdom and understanding. The true artist always serves immortality, striving to immortalise the world and man within the world. An artist who doesn’t try to seek out absolute truth, who ignores universal goals for the sake of accidentals, can only be a time-server.

Text: Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986
Image: Andrei Tarkovsky with Margarita Terekhova on the set of Mirror, 1975

ნატვრის ხე

Posted in Cinema with tags on November 15, 2016 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

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Last night at Tigerloaf Manor we watched The Wishing Tree, directed by Tengiz Abuladze, and must add it to our ever-growing list of all-time favourite films. A tragic folk tale brought to life in arrestingly beautiful images, it is but one example of the extraordinary riches of Soviet cinema. Whether such artistic triumphs blossomed due to the restraints under which they were made, or in spite of them, is a difficult and perhaps unanswerable question. We find it a more humane, universal and artistically successful film than the much more celebrated Repentance.

No Monkey

Posted in Cinema, Philosophy with tags , on September 9, 2015 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

“I’d never just want to do what everybody else did. I’d be contributing to the sameness of everything.”

–Still from Anton Corbijn‘s film Some Yo-Yo Stuff

Five Posters for Salome, 1953

Posted in Cinema, Poster with tags , on November 29, 2014 by Dylan Thomas Hayden





Six Posters for Salome, 1923

Posted in Cinema, Poster with tags , , on November 29, 2014 by Dylan Thomas Hayden






Two Posters for Salomé, 1918

Posted in Cinema, Poster with tags , on November 29, 2014 by Dylan Thomas Hayden


Southern California architecture in Lawrence, Kansas

Posted in Cinema, Kansas, Photo with tags on September 8, 2014 by Dylan Thomas Hayden


The Granada movie theatre in Lawrence, Kansas was still around when I was a kid, though it had a different marquee, and the bus station had moved further down Massachusetts Street. This photo from October 1938 taken by John Vachon is one of the tens of thousands of documentary images compiled by the Farm Security Administration, part of FDR’s New Deal during the Great Depression. The entire archive is now available online.