tarrdigrade’s review published on Letterboxd:
So it finally happened. I found a Tarkovsky film that I could completely immerse myself in. One that I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. Now, don't get me wrong, I've always liked Tarkovsky's films, I've always seen that there is some objective aspect(s) that can be admired within his films, but there was always something I couldn't quite put my finger on that kept me from loving the films. And I think I finally figured out what exactly that was when I saw this film yesterday and loved it.
There's no secret that Tarkovsky's father, Arseny, one of the great poets of the last century, had a big impact on his son's work. I think that this is largely what gives Andrey the poetic qualities to his film and this is why I think that his films are a lot more subjective than others. They cover such a vast field of topics and emotions and it's done in such a free narrative, with various beautiful, but borderline surrealist settings that looks like artwork in it's own right, with characters who even move and talk as gracefully as if it's taken right out of a poem and put on to the screen. To me this means that the experience of watching one of his films is gonna be drastically different for each viewer and it's absolutely fascinating to me that Tarkovsky has basically taken this style of storytelling and made it completely his own. So much so that the second a Tarkovsky film starts one knows almost instantly who the director is. This goes for the formerly mentioned characteristics but also the long takes, the slowly panning epic shots, the slow close-ups on artwork and the blaring classical music (sometimes rather unconventionally applied). What I think is so admirable though, is not how he develops this incredibly unique style, but how it is so coherent and masterfully executed in each of his films (that I have seen), even though it seems so abstract.
In this film Tarkovsky is as ambitious in scope as ever. He takes on the titular feeling, that seems like quite a task to express through the medium of film. But he does so masterfully and does so almost completely visually, one should not, however, underestimate the power of words in Tarkovsky's films. All of which helps the film connect to the audience more spiritually than anything, which is why I would without a doubt consider Tarkovsky one of the great transcendental directors. Some of the other topics he touches on are, spirituality and faith (as pretty much always), the meaning of art, fertility, the concept of freedom, protection loved ones and parenthood. I suspect that the latter is what really connected with me personally. As for the subject matter, I think the story is the most superficially compelling out of any of the director's film. But with Tarkovsky it doesn't unfold quite as one would expect. There's reality (which doesn't seem quite like reality), there's the dream/events-that-are-not-actually-happening sequences (black-and-white) and then there's there is something confusing in between.
I could go on about what I love so much about this film, but I think the most important thing for me to say is: After being able to connect so deeply with one of Tarkovsky's films, I do believe that I probably should rewatch all of his other films I've already seen, to see if I'll be able to connect with them in the same way, although I don't expect myself to be. And I also think it's about time I get around to seeing Rublev and Ivan's Childhood. To anyone out there who feel like they might not be completely connected with the works of Tarkovsky, I would like to say; Give all his films a chance, you might find that only one of them connects with you like Nostalghia has connected with me, and when that happens it's definitely worth it.