YI JIAN’s review published on Letterboxd:
Art is translatable. Poetry can be written in pictures just like how movie subtitles are justified. Visually translated feelings, and emotions evoked through moving images are all legitimate. The nostalgia that we obtain from this film which was translated from the director's is nevertheless genuine.
Tarkovsky saw himself as a wearied poet sharing his nostalgia for his homeland while in Italy, reflected as a dreamlike Stalker-ish place in ruins, sunny outside yet raining indoors. I love how this film is entirely defined by the candle scene at the end, a lyrical meditation on determination, faith and perhaps grief? Through Tarkovsky's lenses everything seems to have a higher, more personal meaning. A man trying to walk across St. Catherine's pool with a lighted candle in hand can be a metaphor for spiritual development or it can be about a man struggling to hold his faith, trying again and again, then collapsing at the weight of exhaustion. By the way, dogs. So many of them aimlessly roaming about, they must mean something. What is the Russian trying to tell us?