Nostalgia is another bizarre film from Andrei Tarkovsky where I had to find out what was happening from the description on IMDB, as I hadn’t the foggiest while I was watching this movie.
Andrei Gorchakov (Oleg Yankovskiy) is a Russian poet, who’s accompanied by guide-cum-translator Eugenia (Domiziana Giordano), both taking a trip through Italy, researching the life of an 18th-century composer, born in Russia. On their travels, they come across local madman called Domenico (Erland Josephson) who, some time back, had done a Josef Fritzl and locked his family in the house for seven years, as if to protect them from the world’s devilish influences. Domenico’s ideas are intriguing to Andrei, and he wishes to subscribe to his newsletter.
Beyond that, it’s lots of pontificating, including something in the story about a maid burning down a house for nostalgia, and the two leads form a couple who often talk to each other while facing away from each other, whether sat down or standing up. I kept expecting them to be flogging a fancy perfume.
Filmed in both colour and black & white, changing between the two from time to time for reasons I could not discern, and with the camera frequently panning across a dolley one way left/right, and then back again, or sometimes forwards, this is all very stylish, so it’s just a shame there’s as much substance as a cheesy ’80s advert.
Nostalgia is a slight improvement on Stalker, in that it has some style, and at least *looked* interesting, even though it wasn’t – to this viewer, although on IMDB it has a score of 8.2 from over 13,000 votes). However, if you did enjoy it, you’ll be pleased to know that it looks a lot better than Stalker did, although that was down to the filming process and not Artificial Eye’s print, so it’s not hard to see why Tarkovsky binned the process off after one film.
The film is presented in the original 1.66:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition and, as previously described, it looks a lot better than Stalker, but that’s down to the filming process.
The audio is in DTS HD 1.0 mono, as you’d expect from a film of that era. There’s no issues with it, and it’s mostly just dialogue with occasional music to it.
The extras are initially a bit bizarre, but there’s some good interviews later on:
- Andrei Tarkovsky’s Metaphysical Dream Zone: An introduction by Mary Wild (2:35): The same intro piece from psychoanalyst Mary Wild we’ve seen on previous Tarkovsky releases, using a lot of long words where simple descriptions would suffice.
- Andrei Tarkovsky’s Metaphysical Dream Zone Part 6: Nostalgia (16:38): Once again, Mary Wild talks about further aspects of the film, overanalysing it, and she confused the hell out of me. As with the previous ones, I couldn’t listen to the whole piece.
- Interview screenwriter Tonino Guerra (7:53): Mr Guerra’s interview is a series of individual lines all strung together, recounting times spent with Tarkovsky. It sounds like someone’s feeding him lines and he’s repeating them back with a bit of flair.
- Interview with Marina Tarkovsky (2:01): A very brief interview with the director’s sister. Both interviews are in 4:3 and, unfortunately, don’t state when they were filmed.
The menu features clips from the film set to a piece of the score where the woman is singing that religious tune. It’s strangely hypnotic… Oh, and there are a bog standard 12 chapters and subtitles are in English.
Nostalgia is released on Monday September 19th on Blu-ray and DVD, and click on all the images and packshot in this review for the full-size versions. I’ve picked two of the stylish pictures, especially.
Running time: 125 minutes
Released: September 19th 2016
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: 1.0 DTS HD Master Audio (Mono), DTS 1.0, Dolby Digital 1.0
Languages: Russian, Italian
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1 (35mm)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Producers: Franco Casati and Daniel Toscan du Plantier
Screenplay: Andrei Tarkovsky and Tonino Guerra
Andrei Gorchakov: Oleg Yankovskiy
Eugenia: Domiziana Giordano
Domenico: Erland Josephson
Andrei’s Wife: Patrizia Terreno
Chambermaid: Laura De Marchi
Domenico’s Wife: Delia Boccardo
Civil Servant: Milena Vukotic
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.