THE KILLERS (Robert Siodmak, 1946)

Although it pales beside Andrei Tarkovsky’s version of the same 1927 Ernest Hemingway story, “The Killers,” ten years hence, Robert Siodmak’s version is entirely different. Whereas Tarkovsky’s film conforms to the story, exhausting it and being exhausted by it, only the opening of Siodmak’s film conforms to the text, which is a springboard for the […]

UBIYTSY (Andrei Tarkovsky, Aleksandr Gordon, 1956)

Andrei Tarkovsky was a 24-year-old film student when he co-wrote and co-directed, along with fellow student Aleksandr Gordon, this gripping, suspenseful, philosophical version of Ernest Hemingway’s 1927 “The Killers,” a short story that consists almost entirely of dialogue—dialogue so craftily repetitious and, given the deadly situation in which it arises, piercingly comical that one wonders […]

NOSTALGHIA (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1983)

Self-exiled from the Soviet Union, Andrei Tarkovsky went to Italy. In a highly symbolical, elliptical form, Nostalghia refers to this visit. Consider, for example, the glorious opening: a long-shot, in soft black-and-white, in which female figures, apparently peasants, rendered tiny by distance, their backs facing us, move farther away from the camera at a dreamily […]