In his life, there were cases in which, some projects had not been approved for a long time, but only when they were approved, he became ready for them at last. The case of "Stalker" was even worse. I mean, he's retaken it all, because he didn't like. The reason for retake was neither a disturbance of authorities, nor the studio's mistake in developing film, it was his will to retake because he did not like. It cannot be allowed in the conditions of today's film production. In his life, such luxury, or rather a quirk of fate, there were many lucky cases for him when he could not do as he wanted. So I think, his life is surely that of a genius, but of a very special genius. His creative period lasted only 25 years. Counting from "Ivan's childhood", it was only 25 years. And he made seven films, seven feature-length films. It's a special life, and that very special life coincided with a very special period, by chance. That special period is the golden age of the Soviet cinema, of its film industry.
As I said earlier, more than 10 million audience saw "Solaris". Among films of Tarkovsky more than 10 million audience had only " Ivan's childhood" and "Solaris". It's understandable that " Ivan's childhood" had so much an audience, because it was released less than 20 years after the war, it dealt with very popular theme at that time, it had an easy-to-understand story and of course, it won Grand Prix at Venice. Though, in the case of "Solaris", it was seen by 10 million people because it was a Sci-Fi film, namely, because it was a genre film. Tarkovsky actually did not like Sci-Fi. That was testified by Misharin who wrote with him the scenario for "Mirror" - he was a drama writer originally - he testified that. Tarkovsky had rather disgust at Sci-Fi. Then why did he get inclined to make "Solaris? based on Stanislaw Lem's novel? The reason is written in my book. Though it's a presumption, I think it fairly reliable one. That concerns the number of the audience I mentioned earlier, and the fact that the number of its prints was much greater than that of "Andrei Rublyov". Well, State Cinema Committee, the Soviet censorship institution, not only engaged in censorship, but also calculated the numbers of film copies so that Soviet film industry would normally, i.e. effectively function. It decided all; in which theaters this or that film should be released, or in first-class theater, or second-rate theater, etc. After Philip Ermash came to its top, that sort of thing was also considered. In fact, "Solaris" could obtain such a large audience because it's a genre film. In other words, because I was a Sci-Fi film. That's because it was made in a spectacular genre, commonly regarded as entertaining. Did Tarkovsky calculate it? He did calculate it, in my opinion. The evidence can be found in his diary. It is described in detail in this book. In fact, in the same year when "Ivan's childhood" was released, another film made not in Mosfilm, but in Lenfilm - second biggest studio of Soviet, located now in St.Petersburg, - recorded the top of the box office, of the attendance in Soviet history. Over the next few years, that work kept its position at the top. I'll explain what kind of film it was. It was based on a novel of Alexander Belyayev, the founder or a pioneer of Sci-Fi in the Soviet Union, That novel of A. Belyaev was titled "Amphibian man", a Sci- Fi with a touch of fantasy. Because Belyaev died in 1940s, if his novel was adapted to film, at that time the film would become only a fantasy. I saw "Amphibian man"a little, it's that kind of film, but there is an interesting fact. When he was just trying to make "Solaris", it was around 1970, Tarkovsky wrote in his diary that he wanted to make a film adaptation of "a story of a man who flies in the sky" by A. Belyaev. "A story of a man who flies in the sky" is "Ariel". And he worte a scenario based on it. He even had Vadim Yusov, the director of photography of "Solaris", read that scenario, so he seriously intended to make it. There is another interesting detail, that we can find also in his diary. With Friedrich Gorenshtein he wrote one scenario for the experimental film studio to earn money. He wrote that in his diary. What was that experimental film studio? It's one of the creative units in Mosfilm, there were several, as I said. They are named: the first creative unit, the second, the third, the experimental creative unit and so forth. It had such a variety. Names of the creative units differed by the studios, Some has only the first, the second etc., In general, there were several in a large studios, and each unit had its own specialized genre. In other words, it was also a part of the film policy of the Soviet Union that I've mentioned, and one of the strategies to meet the audience's needs by diversified genres. And Tarkovsky to some extent was drawn into that strategy, or rather, tried to gain more career as a director by using it. Otherwise there was no income. It was not so easy that one's state of belonging to the studio meant a constant salary in the Soviet Union. A director might become so poor to have debt without working for long. It can be seen from his diary. He did part-time jobs, too. He helped writing a screenplay for a studio in Central Asia, wrote with Alexander Gordon, his former classmate of film school, the scenario which Gordon must have directed, and he played a role in that film. Then with Arkady Strugatsky, who wrote the scenario for "Stalker", wrote a scenario not for a Sci-Fi, but for a detective, crime drama, like a quick-and-dirty work, and got the reward for that. The title is "Attention, snake!" Well, it is a normal film. I mean it's mediocre, the level is that of TV drama.
Talking too much may give a bad impression to the film you see now, so I'll quit now. Tarkovsky was also a man of flesh and blood. Just like me, Tarkovsky was also a man of flesh and blood. Soviet Union was no heaven for the filmmakers, these facts can be checked more and more by further research. But the fact that film industry was in the Golden Age was lucky for him . In other words, as I said, there was a demand for his films. If in other countries only thousands, tens of thousands of people would see such films. but hundreds of thousands people rushed. Or millions of people. Thus when the entire film industry or entire film culture is thriving,- it's not the matter matter of capitalism or socialism - for making films of such authors like him, considerable budgets will be available. In any country, in Japan for example, this was true. For example, Akira Kurosawa's taken the "Throne of Blood" is 1957, when the Japanese film industry was at the zenith. In other era, no one will allow Kurosawa-san, make such a film. That's because Ran" was a co-production with France. "Kagemusha" was realized only after G. Lucas and F.F.Coppola had persuaded 20th Century Fox to become a co-producer on the condition that the Fox would be given world distribution rights. Although it's the same things in any country, when the film culture and film industry is in decline, it's impossible to make author's films with huge budgets. So old films looks better compared to films today, it's natural, but to expect it from today's filmmakers is wrong, there is no choice but to expect it from the film industry of U. S . Or from France, at best. Namely, the countries that support Film Art and film culture. That is why. About how France had supported film culture and film industry about its system, I wrote not in this, but in another, my next book "Cinema: Rebirth or collapse"(Japanese), with latest data included.
There were such cases, so the system in fact,paradoxically, was functioning effectively. There was a tension for film culture, The system of effective function was created. independent of authorities' intention. In this situation, Tarkovsky experienced personally variety of conversions in life and in thought, but very important was the fact that "Rublyov" was not released for so long time. It can be said that there was no choice. Because the first scenario was too long. The first - I mean the first version of the film entitled "The Passion of Andrei", but it was... say, it is incredible though, that is a poor piece. Material is the same. Material that was edited is that same material shot at the time of shooting, but compared with "Andrei Rublyov" it is too much to ssay "great difference", but still... he didn't cut where it should be, editing was different and so on. The use of music and of voice-over- narration is different, and in comparison, - you can now compare them, because "Criterion", a DVD label in the United States has released the first version - but I previously watched it in Moscow. I wondered , "Why "Andrei Rublyov", which impressed me to such an extent has such a poor impression", and even the first watching it made me think "this is needless" on quite many scenes. That is why, the longer first version, actually might be not acceptable for the director himself. I do not know for sure, but concerning "Andrei Rublyov", he neverl complained to Soviet authorities. When he was teaching in the 2 year higher course for screenwriters and directors, he said to students that there had been a scene in "Andrei Rublyov" that he couldn't shoot because of authorities and so forth, but even having complained so, in the West he have never said as if "Andrei Rublyov" was incomplete work. In fact , what I.Bergman regarded a work of genius, the best film he had seen so far, the film he praised so much, wasn't "Passion of Andrei", but "Andrei Rublyov ", in other words, the re-edited version.
In such a way, that kind of strange, mischief of fate in the creation of Tarkovsky constantly existed, also after that. But "Solaris" is a works where its assignment was small. It was made comparatively smoothly. That was partly because the screenplay passed smoothly, but why did it pass smoothly? That smoothly accepted plan Romanov didn't want to accept as a film, so he was considerably disliked film art. Instead of him, Ermash with a talent of producer came to the top of the censorship organ. It was lucky for him, namelyy, for his career after that. "Solaris" was made when he reached a turning point in his life. That is, he broke with Irma Roush, who was his first wife, and married a new wife, the second wife, Larisa Pavlovna. It was just during the production period of this film. How did such a thing happen? While shooting "Andrei Rublyov", Larisa Pavlovna, formerly called Kirzina, she was an assistant director. She had a favor to Andre, to Tarkovsky from that time, and made such a situation which is likely to cause a scandal. There is something fantastic in Irma, who was herself a director of children's film, I think she was optimistic person with good nature, judging from what she wrote. At first she didn't notice that such a situation was made there. Tarkovsky was once hospitalized due to nourvous breakdown as a result of overwork and of "Andrei Rublyov"'s not being released so long. Then Irma, as she was also an actress, rushed from the location of film shooting to Moscow, to the hospital. And she was said that visiting hours were over. She begged for meeting him, saying that she was his wife, but was said at the reception of the hospital, "everybody comes to see him, insisting to be his wife". It seems that she didn't notice again that time, It was probably Larisa Pavlovna who visited him. There was such an incident. I don't know when and in what way Larisa got interrelated with Tarkovsky. But, in 1970 when the production of "Solaris" had started, Larisa was already pregnant with his child. In the year of divorce, when he officially got a divorce from Irma, the child -his second child was born. It's Andrusha, his second son, to whom "Sacrifice" was devoted.
There is a considerable gap between his personal life and his thought reflected on his creation and his art. A gap or rather twist of fate, which is also a part of his fate, anyway he tried to rummage and to read Dostoevsky's writings, philosophers' works written about Dostoevsky in the 19th century Russia. That was when he was making "Solaris", It was so because after "Rublyov" he wanted to make "Adolescent" based on Dostoevsky. And he told about it to Nikolai Burlyaev, the actor who played a bell making boy called Boriska in "Andrei Rublyov", asking him to play in "Adolescent" he'll make. Though he said so, after all, he began to think that it would be more interesting to make a film about Dostoevsky, and he wanted to read everything written about Dostoevsky. And, he wanted to read rather unofficial at that time books on Dostoevsky, for example, of Nikolai Berdyaev. N.Berdyaev was a religious philosopher who wrote his works in the first half of 20th century. Along with Berdyaev, he wanted to read Konstantin Leontiev, Vladimir Soloviev, etc. books of such religious philosophers. And among them Nikolai Berdyaev continued to influence on him until the last moment. Among Berdyaev's books "The meaning of History" and others has been translated in Japan, but the most important - which had an influence on him - book has not yet translated. As far as I researched there's no Japanese translation of it. The book is titled "Meaning of Creation". This book, in my view, is very likely the source of the text written at the end of "Sculpting in Time" - I mean the Japanese version, the one translated into Japanese was retouched after English version, i.e.the final one - the text at the end of it, written like epigraph, seems to me having borrowed whole idea from Berdyaev's "Meaning of Creation". Summing up that idea, well... the power of human to create, the power to create work of art, is the evidence that human is the likeness of God. That's the thought. This thought was told by "Writer" in in "Stalker". "For what human was born?" "For creation, of works of art", he says to "Professor" of physics. Then he replies with despise, "There are still starving people on Earth" and the scene turns into a conflict. In fact from this point of 1970 Tarkovsky began to have such an idea. Having such a thought, he had already, at that point, written with Misharin the scenario for "Mirror". And the scenario was quite different from the film "Mirror". There also were, well , as I said earlier, as in the case of "Rublyov", many parts that would be better to be changed, the screenplay in its original version could not be made into a film.