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.