In 2012, while browsing through Eslite, Taipei’s twenty-four-hour bookstore, I found a book that would help me understand how to sit through an Andrei Tarkovsky film. It is called Bright, Bright Day, a collection of Polaroids the filmmaker took between 1979 and 1984 and which served as visual documentation and inspiration for his penultimate film, Nostalghia.
It so happened that earlier that year I’d watched Nostalghia, and in utter perplexity. Its hero is Andrei Gorchakov, a melancholy poet visiting Italy to research the life of Pavel Sosnovsky, an eighteenth-century Russian composer in exile who would commit suicide upon returning home. Gorchakov soon meets Domenico, himself in a state of perpetual exile, having locked up his family for seven years to avoid the apocalypse and today wanders Rome and its environs with only a German shepherd as companion. After a nearly wordless interview, despite his paranoia and their language barrier Domenico entrusts Gorchakov with an important task.
Fog and water are constantly in Gorchakov’s way, yet they are gentle conduits to his memories, to a longing for the family he left behind. This is most apparent in the film’s final scenes when Gorchakov, restless and homesick, and having found comfort in the shared dislocation with Domenico, agrees to fulfill …read more

Via: Melville House Books