Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky (Russian: Андре́й Арсе́ньевич Тарко́вский) (April 4, 1932 - December 29, 1986) was a Soviet film director, writer and opera director. Tarkovksy is listed among the 100 most critically acclaimed filmmakers; director Ingmar Bergman was famously quoted as saying "Tarkovsky for me is the greatest [director], the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream". Tarkovsky attained critical acclaim for directing such films as Andrei Rublev, Solaris and Stalker.
Tarkovsky also worked extensively as a screenwriter, film editor, film theorist and theater director. He directed most of his films in the Soviet Union, with the exception of his last two films which were produced in Italy and Sweden. His films are characterized by Christian spirituality and metaphysical themes, extremely long takes, lack of conventional dramatic structure and plot, and memorable images of exceptional beauty.
Tarkovsky's first feature film was Ivan's Childhood in 1962. He had inherited the film from director Eduard Abalov, who had to abort the project. The film earned Tarkovksy international acclaim and won him the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival in 1962. In the same year, on September 30, his first son Arseny (called Senka in Tarkovsky's diaries) Tarkovsky was born.
In 1965, he directed the film Andrei Rublev about the life of Andrei Rublev, the 15th century Russian icon painter. Andrei Rublev was not immediately released after completion due to problems with Soviet authorities. Tarkovsky had to cut the film several times, resulting in several different versions of varying lengths. A version of the film was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 1969 and won the FIPRESCI prize. The film was officially released in the Soviet Union in a cut version in 1971.
Tarkovsky returned to Italy in 1982 to start shooting Nostalghia. He never went back to his home country. As Mosfilm withdrew from the project, he had to complete the film with financial support provided by the Italian RAI. Tarkovsky completed the film in 1983. Nostalghia was presented at the Cannes Film Festival and won the Grand Prix Spécial du Jury, the FIPRESCI prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. Soviet authorities prevented the film from winning the Palme d'Or, a fact that hardened Tarkovsky's resolve to never work in the Soviet Union again. In the same year, he also arranged the opera Boris Godunov at the Royal Opera House in London under the musical direction of Claudio Abbado.
He spend most of 1984 preparing the film The Sacrifice. At a press conference in Milan on July 10, 1984 he announced that he would never return to the Soviet Union and would remain in the West. At that time, his son Andrei Jr. was still in the Soviet Union and not allowed to leave the country.
During 1985, he shot the film The Sacrifice in Sweden. At the end of the year he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. In January 1986, he began treatment in Paris, and was joined there by his wife and his son, who were finally allowed to leave the Soviet Union. The Sacrifice was presented at the Cannes Film Festival and received the Grand Prix Spécial du Jury, the FIPRESCI prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. As Tarkovsky was unable to attend due to his illness, the prizes were collected by his son, Andrei Jr.
Tarkovsky died on December 29, 1986 in Paris at age 54. He was buried on January 3, 1987 in the Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Russian Cemetery in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois in France. The inscription on his grave stone, which was created by the Russian sculptor Ernst Neizvestny, reads To the man who saw the Angel. in en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrei_Tarkovsky