(aka "Moscow Elegy" or "Moskovskaya elegiya" )

 

directed by Aleksandr Sokurov
Soviet Union 1987

 

One of Sokurov's series of 'elegies', this is a tribute to his former mentor Andrei Tarkovsky who died in 1986. A long way removed from a conventional documentary, it is more a meditation on Tarkovsky, an attempt to capture his essence, than a chronological account of his life and work. Sokurov visits Tarkovsky's one-time Moscow apartment and speculates on why he went into exile and what his legacy is to Russian cinema. The style is deliberately subjective and impressionistic. It's fascinating to see the footage from an old Soviet propaganda feature in which Tarkovsky acted as a very young man, and to watch him at work on the set of his final film, The Sacrifice.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Alexander Sokurov's heartfelt video documentary (1987, 88 min.) about his mentor Andrei Tarkovsky, completed shortly after the latter's death in exile. As far as I can tell, it's called Moscow Elegy only because Tarkovsky spent many of his early years in Moscow; indeed, Sokurov's customary fetishism of place extends to schools Tarkovsky attended, apartments and houses he lived in, and (climactically) a tree he once planted. Most of the footage concerns the making of Tarkovsky's last two films, in Italy and Sweden, as well as his death in France, though there's also a fair-sized chunk of him as a young actor in the 1963 Russian opus Ilyich Gates (which looks very much like Jacques Rivette's first feature). Despite the blotchiness of some images and the seemingly disordered structure, this is a document (more than a documentary) that Tarkovsky fans won't want to pass up; others may find the experience of one Russian mystic brooding over another a bit like white on white.

Excerpt of review from Jonathon Rosenbaum located HERE

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DVD Comparison:

Ideale Audience / Facets - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Artificial Eye (The Andrei Tarkovsky Companion) - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Gary Tooze for the Ideale Audience / Facets Screen Caps!

(Ideale Audience / Facets - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Artificial Eye (The Andrei Tarkovsky Companion) - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Ideale Audience / Facets

Region 0 - NTSC

Artificial Eye
Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:26:12 1:26:23
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.19 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

4:3 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.79 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Ideale Audience / Facets

 

Bitrate:

 

Artificial Eye (The Andrei Tarkovsky Companion)

 

Audio Russian and Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0)

Russian and Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0)

Subtitles English, Italian, French, Spanish, None Forced English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Ideale Audience / Facets

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• There is a 12-page digital booklet in PDF format (Adobe Acrobat ) accessed through your computer's DVD-Rom drive.

DVD Release Date: December 27, 2006
Keep Case

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 4:3

Edition Details:
• Biography/Filmography of Alexander Sokurov

 

DVD Release Date: May 28th, 2007
Keep Case

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Unfortunately, most of the problems that existed in the region 1 release are also present in the Artificial Eye disc. Large portions of the documentary appear to be taken directly off of a poor VHS dub from the mid-80's and are, as Gary said, borderline unwatchable. Perhaps the Facets might be a tad brighter, but other than this there is no real differences in image that I can ascertain from the screen captures. While I cannot speak for the audio in the Facets release, the AE has frequent background hisses and crackles. Finally, I have no idea what the pdf file that Facets offered was, but the two paragraphs on Sokurov on the AE disc are likely to be of interest only to those that have no knowledge of the director.

With no real difference in video content, likely negligible differences between the extras, and both discs being OOP, the question of which to buy may not be so easy. However, I'd recommend going with the Artificial Eye release. This way you get you get the other two documentaries in the set and the Amazon marketplace prices are as of the time of writing this, cheaper as well.

***

 

ON THE FACETS DVD: This is a very frugal single-layered DVD (filling 3.92 Gig). It is expectantly very weak in terms of image and audio quality. It is fairly hazy at times and quite dirty. The subtitles are optional. the widescreen footage is not anamorphic and much of the archive material is almost unwatchable. There is a 12-page digital booklet in PDF format (Adobe Acrobat ) accessed through your computer's DVD-Rom drive. It contains an interview and biography of Sokurov, and a filmography.

The DVD inferiorities are extensive which is unfortunate. It is ironic, Tarkovsky's cinema can be such a personal experience that it seems impossible to relate the impact with the same heartfelt intensity it can transfer - but I felt Sokurov did as good a job as anyone could - his film being more homage than bio. It is pricey but as Jonathan Rosenbaum states - Tarkovsky fans won't want to pass this up - regardless of the unimpressive quality of the transfer. 

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus


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Ideale Audience / Facets - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Artificial Eye (The Andrei Tarkovsky Companion) - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Ideale Audience / Facets - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye (The Andrei Tarkovsky Companion) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Ideale Audience / Facets - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye (The Andrei Tarkovsky Companion) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Ideale Audience / Facets - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye (The Andrei Tarkovsky Companion) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Ideale Audience / Facets - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye (The Andrei Tarkovsky Companion) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Ideale Audience / Facets - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye (The Andrei Tarkovsky Companion) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Ideale Audience / Facets - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye (The Andrei Tarkovsky Companion) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Report Card:
 

Image:

Tie

Sound:

-----

Extras: Tie (in all lIkelihood)
Menu: Artifical Eye

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Ideale Audience / Facets

Region 0 - NTSC

Artificial Eye
Region 2 - PAL



 

 

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