Poet: Arseny Tarkovsky

Life, Life by Arseny Tarkovsky

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker: ,

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It’s always fascinating to see how different poetry-film makers will deploy the same text. In his film, Cameron Michael juxtaposes the dreamy text and soundtrack with time-lapse shots of New York City, while in Exiles, Bangladeshi director Amirul Rajiv uses black-and-white footage of a vast Rohingya refugee camp. Which is a better fit? How does our understanding of the poem change from one film to the other?

Poetry-film fans should recognize the name Arseny Tarkovsky: his son, the great Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, included his father’s poems in some of his most memorable scenes. Here, the title poem from Virginia Rounding’s recent volume of English translations comes to us via an album by the film composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, which he offered up for an international short film competition earlier this year. Here’s how the website No Film School described it:

The composer behind ‘The Revenant’ has teamed up with Apichatpong Weerasethakul to give out awards totaling $5,000 cash.

This past spring, Ryuichi Sakamoto released his album async, which he described as a “soundtrack for an imaginary Andrei Tarkovsky film.” Today, he announced the async Short Film Competition, in which he asks filmmakers to create a movie around his music.

The short films will be judged by Sakamoto and acclaimed filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives). In addition, one filmmaker will be given an “Audience Award” based on the following method: One point for every time the submitted film is played on Vimeo; 10 points for every “like” on Vimeo; and 10 points for every “like” on Facebook by September 30th, 2017.

Sakamoto will decide on a winner based on the following criteria:

  • Originality
  • Creativity
  • Unique expression of the relationship between the music and the images
  • The general appeal of the film

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Apichatpong will decide on a winner based on the following criteria:

  • Originality
  • Creativity
  • The general appeal of the film

Links to all the films entered in the competition are currently on the front page of Sakamoto’s website. You can see more film interpretations of this poem by doing a Google video search for Arseny Tarkovsky “Life, Life”.