The Off-Screen Space and the Silent Fragments in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Films


This paper discusses two major films by the Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, Ivan’s Childhood (1962) and Andrei Rublev (1966). Both films are set in the background of turbulent periods in Russia. The two main characters, Ivan and Rublev, however, are ordinary individuals rather than war heroes. Their most significant aspect is that in the chaotic world around them, they are afflicted by a certain helplessness, but they still manage to confront life. This paper argues that Tarkovsky’s use of the off-screen space and the silent fragments in the films, which result in the concealment of partial film imagery and the absence of words, do not distract from the meaning of the narrative. Rather, they make the films more dynamic and reveal the characters’ inner reality or unspoken dilemmas, typical of Tarkovsky’s brilliant skills as a filmmaker. When there is violence, suffering becomes unavoidable. Tarkovsky reveals that in the vulgar world, virtue could lead humans to dedicate themselves to faith, spirituality, and good deeds. In other words, Tarkovsky is not only concerned about individual’s psychic state and inner growth but also believes in a higher moral and spiritual attitude within humans.

Author Information
Hsin-Yi Wu, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan
Wen-Shu Lai, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan

Paper Information
Conference: FilmAsia2016
Stream: Film Direction and Production

This paper is part of the FilmAsia2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon