«- You know a maid in Milan set fire to the house?
– Which house?
– Her employers’ house. She missed her home and family down South, so she burned the thing that stopped her going back. (…)
– Never forget what he said to her (…)
– So what did God say to St. Catherine?
– “You are she who is not, but I am he who is” (…)
– One drop plus one drop makes a bigger drop, not two. (…)
– When I don’t know what to say I ask for a cigarette too. But I never learned to smoke. It’s too hard. You have to learn to not smoke,
to do important things. (…)
– I was selfish. I wanted to save my family. Everyone must be saved,
the whole world.
– It’s simple. You see the candle? (…) You cross the water with the lighted candle.
– Which water?
– The hot water. St. Catherine’s pool by the hotel. The steaming water.
– All right, when?
– Now. (…)
– Is your wife pretty?
– You know the Madonna of Childbirth by Piero della Francesca? She’s like that but all black. (…)
– Zoe! Where are you? Answer me! I’m scared of being alone.
– I know what you’re thinking, but that’s enough now. It’s wrong to keep thinking the same thing.
[“1+1=1” on the wall] (…)
“Dear Pyotr Nikolayevich
I’ve been in ltaly 2 years very important ones both for my profession
and for my everyday lifeLast night I had a bad dream… I had to stage an opera in the theater of My Lord the Count. The first act was set in a park full of statues but they were naked men forced to stand motionless. And I was a statue, too. I knew I would be harshly punished if I moved, because our lord and master was watching us. I could feel the cold rising from my marble pedestal as the autumn leaves settled on my upraised arm. Yet I stood still. But when I sensed I could resist no longer, I awoke. I was afraid, for I knew it had been no dream, but my reality. Yet I would die if I never returned to Russia, if I never again saw my homeland. The birches,
the air of my childhood.
An affectionate greeting from your abandoned friend,
Pavel Sosnovsky” (…)
“As a child I once fell ill
From fear and hunger. I’d scratched off the scab
From my lips and licked my lips; I remembered
The cool and salty taste.
But still I go, but still I go, I go,
I sit on the front stairs and warm myself,
Delirious, I wander as though to follow
The tune of the pied-piper to the river,
I warm myself on the stairs, consumed by fever.
But mother stands and beckons, she seems
Not far away but unapproachable:
I approach a little, it’s only seven steps,
She beckons, I approach but she still stands
Only seven steps away, she beckons.
Grips me, I undid my collar and laid down –
And trumpets started trumpeting, my eyelids
Were struck by light, and horses galloped, mother
Is flying above the cobblestones, she beckons –
And vanished …
And now I dream
Beneath the apple trees, a white ward,
And the white bed-sheet beneath my throat,
And the white doctor looks down at me,
And the white nurse stands beside my feet
Ruffling her wings. And they remained.
But mother came and beckoned –
And vanished … ”
[Poem by Arseny Tarkovski] (…)
– Don’t be afraid of me. It’s I who should be afraid of you. You could shoot me. Everyone shoots in ltaly. And there are too many ltalian shoes! Dreadful! Why does everyone buy them? These are 10 years old.
It’s not important. (…)
– Unspoken feelings are unforgettable. (…)
– Here’s a story: A man saves another who was sinking into a slimy pond
thereby risking his own life. Now they are both lying on the edge of the pound, out of breath, exhausted. The rescued man says: “Idiot! Why did you do that? I live in there!”. He was offended. (…)
“My sight dims, my strenght
two invisible adamantine darts;
my hearing deafens, full of distant thunder
and the breathing of my father’s home;
the knots of my tensed muscles have weakened,
like hoary oxen on a ploughed field;
and no longer when night falls
do two wings gleam behind me.
Like a candle burned out at a feast,
I gather my melted wax in the morning,
And read in it
whom to mourn and what to be proud of,
how, by giving away the last third of joy,
and under the shade of an improvised roof
to light up posthumously as a word.”
[Poem by Arseny Tarkovski] (…)
– They’re my children, my family, my own flesh and blood. How could l? Years without seeing the sun, fearing the light of day! Why? Why this tragedy?
– Lord, do you see how he’s asking? Say something to him.
– But what would happen if He heard my voice?
– Let Him feel your presence.
– I always do, but He’s not aware of it. (…)
– How’s your heart?
– I don’t know, I’ve reached the limit. I’m bored. I want to go home. (…)
– What ancestor speaks in me? I can’t live simultaneously in my head and in my body. That’s why I can’t be just one person. I can feel myself countless things at once. There are no great masters left. That’s the real evil of our time. The heart’s path is covered in shadow. We must listen to the voices that seem useless. In brains full of long sewage pipes, of school wall, tarmac and welfare papers – the buzzing of insects must enter! We must fill the eyes and ears of all of us with things that are the beginning of a great dream. Someone must shout that we’ll build the pyramids. It doesn’t matter if we can’t do it! We must fuel desire and stretch the corners of the soul like an endless sheet. If you want the world to go forward, we must hold hands, we must mix the so-called healthy with the so-called sick. You healthy ones! What does your health mean? The eyes of all mankind are looking at the pit into which we are plunging. Freedom is useless, if you don’t have the courage to look us in the eye, to eat, drink and sleep with us! It’s the so-called healthy who have brought the world to the verge of ruin. Man, listen! In you, water, fire and then ashes, and the bones in the ashes. The bones and the ashes! (…) Where am I when I’m not in reality or in my imagination? Here’s my new pact: it must be sunny at night and snowy in August. Great things end, small things endure. Society must become united again, instead of so disjointed. Just look at nature and you’ll see that life is simple. We must go back to where we were, to the point where you took the wrong turn, we must go back to the main foundations of life without dirtying the water. What kind of world is this, if a madman tells you you must be ashamed of yourselves! Music now! Music! I forgot this: O mother! O mother! The air is that light thing that moves around your head and becomes clearer when you laugh…
– The music doesn’t work!
– Zoe! Zoe!»
– Excerpts from the script of “Nostalgia” (1983) by Tarkovski.