Andrei Tarkovsky's metaphysical dream zone: Seven week evening course - 11 January 2016 - 22 February 2016

The Freud Museum, London, United Kingdom 

The new PROJECTIONS series by Mary Wild in partnership with Cygnnet Publishing, is a 7-week course dedicated to the exploration of Tarkovsky’s acclaimed filmography, providing a platform for interactive engagement with one of the most influential figures in the history of cinema. Almost every Tarkovskian frame is hyper-significant and dense with meaning; so psychoanalysis will serve a vital function, facilitating a multitude of interpretations and searching for possibilities in “dream rooms” through which Tarkovsky moved with great ease. Memories, attachment, alienation, identity, nostalgia, conflict, transcendence and the uncanny are some of the concepts that will foster a deeper understanding of the Russian master’s uniquely captivating vision. Through a combination of group discussion and an appreciation of Tarkovsky’s theoretical perspective, we will attempt to reassess and become aware of our unconscious connection to these notoriously challenging works of art – a practice that is not dissimilar to the psychoanalytic tradition itself.

The written word, even at the height of its powers, does not successfully convey the beauty, vastness and mystery of films directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. To engage with the outstanding repertoire of Russia’s greatest motion picture auteur requires an absolute immersion in the visual domain, as well as patience, imagination, and a profound faith in the creative process. Tarkovsky’s innovative cinematic language, developed over seven feature-length titles, is neither conventional nor especially plot-driven, but instead focuses on the inner worlds of on-screen characters, their existential crises and spiritual quests. The Tarkovskian image is interminably poetic, always in pursuit of an epic, life-altering truth. His primary method was to “sculpt time” by fixing reality, preserving passing moments with exceptionally long takes; lingering, observing, using cinematography to generate a mosaic of time. Brooding trees, flowing rivers, dilapidated buildings, religious paintings, smoldering flames, torrential rain, ethereal levitations, the repositioning of nature indoors – these are the unmistakable symbolic cues that indicate entry into a metaphysical dream zone.

Full filmography (advance viewing is optional, select scenes will be shown during weekly sessions):

Week 1 – Ivan's Childhood (1962): an orphan boy’s experiences during World War II

Week 2 – Andrei Rublev (1966): the life, times and afflictions of 15th-century Russian icon painter

Week 3 – Solaris (1972): mysterious phenomena taking place aboard a space station orbiting a fictional planet

Week 4 – Mirror (1975): dying man remembers his childhood, mother and recent Russian history

Week 5 – Stalker (1979): guide leads two men through the Zone to find a room that grants wishes

Week 6 – Nostalghia (1983): poet travels through Italy researching the life of 18th-century Russian composer

Week 7 – The Sacrifice (1986): middle-aged intellectual bargains with God to stop impending nuclear holocaust

PROJECTIONS is psychoanalysis for film interpretation. PROJECTIONS empowers film spectators to express subjective associations they consider to be meaningful. Expertise in psychoanalytic theory is not necessary - the only prerequisite is the desire to enter and inhabit the imaginary world of film, which is itself a psychoanalytic act. MARY WILD, a Freudian cinephile from Montreal, is the creator of PROJECTIONS.

More info here.

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