Andrei Tarkovsky on Dostoevsky Biopic

An excerpt from Andrei Tarkovsky's Diaries, dated 30 April 1970
An excerpt from Andrei Tarkovsky’s diaries, dated 30 April 1970

I am beginning to take an interest in the work of the Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. I am particularly interested in his preoccupation with the work of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. In a 1970 entry in his diaries, Tarkovsky outlines his ambition to film a biopic of Dostoevsky, which could become “the whole point of what I want to do in cinema”:

“30 April, Moscow

Sasha Mishurin and I talked about Dostoievsky. First, of corse, it has to be written: it’s too early to start thinking about how to direct it.

There’s almost certainly no point in screening the novels. We must make a film about the man himself. About his personality, his God, his devil, his work.

Tolya Solonitsyn could make a wonderful Dostoievsky. For the moment I must read. Everything Dostoievsky wrote. Everything that’s been written about him; and Russian philosophy—Solovyov, Leontiev, Berdyaev, etc.

‘Dostoievsky’ could become the whole point of what I want to do in cinema.

Now Solaris. For the moment progress is agonizingly slow, because things at Mosfilm have reached crisis point.

Then—The Bright Day.”

Source: Andrey Tarkovsky, Time Within Time: The Diaries, 1970-1986, trans. Kitty Hunter-Blair (London: Faber and Faber, 1994), p.3.

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  1. Interesting piece. I must explore his work. have you read JM Coetzee’s “Master of St Petersburg”?

    • Rhys Tranter

      Thank you. I have not yet read the Coetzee, although it is quite literally sitting on my summer reading heap as we speak! 🙂

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