Andrei Tarkovsky's The Fog By Violeta Kovacsics

in 7th Lecce Festival of European Cinema

by Violeta Kovacsics

There was a strong bond between Russia and Italy at the 7th Festival del Cinema Europeo of Lecce. Firstly through a Russian film called The Italian (Italianetz), which tells the story of an orphan boy who tries to find out about his mother while an Italian family is trying to adopt him. While Russia is shown as cold and grey, Italy doesn’t appear but is continuously mentioned, and is presumed as warm and sunny.

Secondly the connection between these two countries grew stronger with the retrospective section of the festival dedicated to Andrei Tarkovsky. The screening of his films was complemented with a beautiful exhibition of some pictures he took from 1979 to 1982. A series of Polaroids with two parts: Russia and Italy, two countries where Tarkovsky lived.

These Polaroids are a prolongation of his cinematographic work. Both the pictures and films have places and subjects in common. They are set in lakes or interiors with windows, and characters (at the exhibition: his wife and his son) are often shown as they pose. Their position on the frame is not defined by chance. In some of the photos there is even a dog, an animal that already played an important role at the end of Solaris (Solyaris, 1972) and Stalker (1979).

Aesthetics are also the same as in his films: geometrical compositions, sense of perspective, images reflected on water and a great exploration of light. Even in interiors, light shines through the windows, creating an unusual atmosphere. Tarkovsky waits for a magical moment when light becomes a special effect.

The pictures he took in Italy are more powerful and brighter. Each Polaroid is like a still of a film. As if it was one of his science fiction films, he creates mystery through natural elements such as light and fog. In fact, fog is the main character of this exhibition, mostly in the pictures he took at Bagno Vignoni. It is an aureole of mist that menaces like in John Carpenter’s The Fog (1980).

Russia was aquatic at the Lecce film festival. On the one hand, through the snow and the ice that covers the orphanage of The Italian and on the other hand, through Tarkovsky’s uses of water and fog.