Andrei Tarkovsky's Martyrolog on...
Tempo di viaggio —
Tarkovsky's foot in the Western door
While not a major Tarkovsky work, Tempo di viaggio is
still a very interesting item as it was the artist's first
attempt at breaking out of the dead end of unemployment
under the Soviet system and at extending his operations to the West.
In order to contain the volume of the material we decided to limit
the entries related to other projects Tarkovsky was involved
in at the time to their administrative, not creative-artistic, aspects
(Stalker, Hamlet, Scultping in Time, Hoffmanniana, Nostalghia).
These details are nevertheless surprisignly illuminating
despite sounding somewhat monotonous as they show
the extent of frustration and, yes, monotony of Tarkovsky's
circumstances at the time. Also keep in mind that Tarkovsky does
not always fully explain his intentions in the diary. After
all, his diary was examined on at least one occasion by a
customs officer at the Moscow Sheremetyevo airport. Yet the meaning of
this remark, for example, seems clear (January 1979):
We discussed many issues with Tonino. It seems he understood my position. I believe if such necessity arises he'll help me. [...] Larissa and I are very seriously thinking about Tonino. It's impossible to continue like this.
This is a re-translation from the Polish edition of
ed. and trans. by Seweryn
Kuśmierczyk. Retranslation by Jan at Nostalghia.com. The retranslated material is posted on
Nostalghia.com with the personal permission of Dr. Kuśmierczyk.
Note: the footnotes
are by S. Kuśmierczyk except those appearing in square brackets
which are ours. The pale yellow background indicates diary entries
made in Italy.
20 January, Tuesday
13 January I came back from Myasnoe. At the ETO*, at Mosfilm, they agreed
with the Strugatskys on Picnic at the Roadside (based on the last
chapter of the novel). Now the Strugatskys are in Leningrad — they are
writing according to the ideas and the outline
we've made with Arkady.
Tonino Guerra from Italy
was here not too long ago. They want me to direct a film there (but our
authorities do not) or to make something for television (Travels
in Italy). On account of that they want to invite me to Italy for two
months (between Hamlet and Picnic) so I could get to know
19 February, Thursday
[...] Lora Yablochkina
came yesterday and said Tonino had bought the camera already.
Cristaldi sent a telegram
to Yermash and Sizov regarding Travels in Italy. For the
moment I have no details and I gather they probably wouldn't want to
Perhaps I shall have to write
22 February, Sunday
Feliks Kuznetsov says he
has managed to get Chakovsky (that bandit) interested in writing an
article about Mirror for Literaturnaya Gazeta. Doubtful.
But Chakovsky had in fact seen the film at his editorial offices already.
Enn in Tallinn is fighting the battle
to make Hoffmann in coproduction with the FRG. He says it's
a real possibility.
I think I've found my goal
— should make a film about Jesus. Of course not like Pasolini.
There are two possibilities — either make it abroad or with an amateur camera and allegorically.
24 February, Tuesday
me through Sizov yesterday. Only to lessen my discontent with
the lack of work, it seems to me.
This is all idle chatter.
Just to buy himself some peace and quiet from me during the
||He asked me to read the Strugatskys. He immediately mentioned
he did not trust them as they had supposedly written a screenplay for
Vasily Solovyov "in the spirit of Zionism". Yermash did not understand
a thing from the outline.
||He scolded me for my fondness of diseases. (Dr. Faustus, Hyppolit).
||He rejected Cristaldi's offer, as was to be expected (Travels
in Italy). He justified it by calling Cristaldi a "hedger".
||He apparently knows nothing about Bergman's invitation for me.
25 February, Wednesday
Have to write a letter
to the presidium of the [USSR Communist Party] Congress. The more so
because I am certain the conversation with Yermash was pure
demagoguery: they called Mosfilm (Nekhoroshev) from the cultural
division of the [Party] Central Committee and asked what subjects
Tarkovsky proposed for his films and which ones were rejected by
the [Goskino] administration.
Yermash summons me. Check — "the proposals have been
presented" to Tarkovsky.
26 February, Thursday
I wrote the letter to the
presidium of the 25th Congress informing of my unemployment through
I'm going out
to send it now.
I wrote a letter
This was a deed. A new
stage has begun.
18 March, Thursday
Naturally Yermash found
out about my letter to the Congress. He summoned me and "explained"
that the third outline was needed in order to present it to foreign
television producers and sell it on the spot. (7–9 installments
of The Idiot, TV version.) For Kodak film and the equipment.
What a change!
He urgently needed
the third outline of Strugatskys' screenplay. I told him I was
in a critical situation and if the question of my employment did not
clear up I'd write to the Politburo.
Sasha Misharin wrote
a ridiculous outline which should not be shown to anyone as it's
only evidence of his drinking.
Masha is going to
phone and ask him to write something acceptable.
23 March, Tuesday
Yermash rang yesterday
during the theatre rehearsal. He informed me he had finished reading
the screenplay about Hoffmann and he could not see anything
improper in it. He asked me to correct the text in two places:
where Hoffmann cannot be creative without drinking punch and where
during a toast he speaks about inscrutability of the world.
He said he was going away and coming back in one week.
He also talked to Surkov
about publishing Hoffmanniana in "Iskusstvo Kino".
Now Surkov thinks
it was he who defended Hoffmanniana against Yermash.
What an idea!
Two days ago Yermash summoned
me through Sizov. I went to Yermash two days ago.
Stalker has been approved (three minor remarks).
Also approved is the first
outline of The Idiot.
2 May, Sunday
Tonino brought the
camera — sound, 8mm.
10 May, Monday
I talked to Tonino.
The dialogue. He: about
everything that's important, what he likes, what he hates.
Me: the same.
Editing as staging the thoughts.
||Filming at my country home.
||At his country home.
Introduction to the book
of screenplays (the best two): Rublov and Mirror.
||Filming the countryside.
||The story of Tyapa going to the forester.
||Tyapa tells his dream.
||About Rome and Paris.
||About the City.
||How Larissa was building the house.
||On cinema. "Cinema" and "Philosophy".
||The story of the swallow building the nest.
||The story of Gray and the kitten.
||What dialogue is. What it is good for.
(Give Tonino the locket
— about Lora — as a present and ask him not to open it.
When he reads it he'll understand she is not the right match for him.)
||About a foreigner in a strange city:
the beginning of Travels in Italy.
Love — to forsake one
in consideration of the other or oneself. This always implies
And the dialogue.
Sacrifice — the only
form of individual existence.
If there were no borders
our (Russia's) victory would be complete. Not because of the system.
Because of ideals. Because we respect ideals. We live for ideals.
Germans only create ideals.
When I "live" by my ideals then I obviously also create them. Germans
do not live by ideals. For them it is enough to create them. That's
Give up cinema for 8mm
(earn a living from screenplays). If I obtain the "permission".
It'll be boring to
direct Stalker although I know how to do it.
It'll be boring to
direct The Idiot.
I want my own truth.
It'll be boring to
direct Hoffmann although I wrote it — because I want the truth.
An object shown in a work
cannot be a symbol of truth. What can be "truth" is only a method,
an approach, the "how".
Time to give up cinema.
I've grown up.
Begin with a book about
childhood (include the screenplay for White Day).
How they burnt the pig —
the episode that started with the gingerbread; how they took away
my ice skates; how I was butted by a ram. [...]
16 May, Sunday
Points for the Italian
book of screenplays.
||The falcon and the kitten.
||Tyapa goes to the forester.
||I'd like to get involved in amateur film (to prove that it is not
viewer — commercial considerations — that ought to govern
||Paris and Rome.
||A foreigner abroad provoking an incident so as not to feel his
loneliness and emptiness.
||About the film Rublov — six hours. About episodes
which weren't included or have been altered.
In the theatre everything
goes very badly. The deadline is on the 24th. One cannot prepare a play
with just ten rehearsals. The costumes are not ready. Same with the props
and the arms. [...]
The rehearsals ended the
day before yesterday. Obviously the play is not ready. What next?
I switched Gomyashvili
for Shiryaev. The rehearsals continued as if against the
The costumes — not ready.
The sets — not ready.
The music — not recorded.
The pantomime — not prepared.
I hope by New Year's, after
a number of rehearsals (10–15) the spectacle comes into being.
I think the staging
is very good.
How full of some odd and
elusive hostility this theatre is. The reason Mark Zakharov asked me
to direct Hamlet for him remains simply nauseatingly incomprehensible.
Did he want me to fail?
I am at the preparatory
stage for Stalker. I'm flying with Boym and Geller to Ashkhabad
today for location search. The shooting script is ready.
It will be copied while we are on location.
I have no news from
They want to publish
Stalker in "Iskusstvo Kino".
They did not sign an
agreement with me for The Idiot.
Sizov told me neither
he nor Yermash had received any letters of invitation for me from Cristaldi.
If I want, I can ask the Italians to write the letters again and send
What is probably happening
is that Shauro received a letter from Cristaldi complaining about the
silence of the cinema administration.
Odd: I received the letter
but Sizov and Yermash did not. They are full of lies.
I think it's likely they
are going to sign an agreement with me for the screenplay based on
I'm going to a meeting now,
at 9.30, with Sizov and Yermash, about Italy. They are going to ask me
to refuse Cristaldi because he is a "hedger" and Yermash wants to defend
me against him.
I was at Goskino.
is a hedger and if he wants me to direct a film in Italy, he must
first fulfil the necessary formalities with Goskino." And that's it.
And if I insisted I'd be acting against "the interests of the country"...
And they've got me here.
Due to the cost I agreed
to use the universal frame.*
Tomorrow I'm leaving
for a few days to the country, to Tyapa.
For now I'm unable to
leave for the country. Professional matters.
I heard rumours
— Nikolai Ivanov told Larissa — that
it was Yermash who was against my September trip to Italy while
everybody else, Sizov particularly, "and even Dobrokhotov", were "for".
We shall see. Especially when, according to Tonino, Enrico Berlinguer
is already involved.
Geller is scared because
there is so little time left to prepare the "Zone".
There is no assistant
director but most likely Andrei Maslyukov will be available on Tuesday.
I don't know him personally but everyone is recommending him.
For now I can't think
of anything for those 100 metres of film with remarks on Franz Kafka
which I had primised Tonino. I must read the one-volume edition of
Kafka's works, perhaps something will come out of it.
22 August, Sunday
If we cannot manage
to start Stalker this autumn (I gather this almost certainly
won't happen), we shall begin shooting in the studio, then on location
(Moscow, in winter), and in April 1977 — "the Zone" (in
Obviously, this is going to make the work difficult as spring in Asia is
not autumn after all.
Instead, by the end
of November and the beginning of December
I'll have completely finished the work
I should be completely
done with the film by the end of September. I cannot imagine what
happens next — Travels in Italy?
My back really aches.
I work a lot around the house in fact. Today I was digging around the
foundations from the garden side. Larissa may be coming back this
Saturday. I wonder what's happening at the studio?
— the room for the
crew and my furniture,
— the assistant director,
— the props assistant,
— let the actors know
about the new schedule.
I dictated it all to Larissa.
I am worried whether it will be done.
29 August, Sunday
Should read Kafka
for that 100 metres for Tonino.
Larissa arrived on
Wednesday. She had taken care of everything. Everything is done as she
had promised. She fulfilled all my requests and even more.
The agreement for
The Idiot has been signed, the advance paid.
the 10th and the 15th we'll go to Moscow with Lara. I ought to meet
the production manager. Many issues pertaining to the preparation
of the shooting. Tonino Guerra and Antonioni are arriving later
from Yerevan. Perhaps something could be done about the
Yesterday, few minutes
after midnight, that is at night of the 8th and the 9th
Mao Tse-tung died. A trifle but a pleasant one.
Must write the letters.
||Strugatsky. (The first scene with the wife. The row. He
promised not to go to the Zone. He wants to leave very quietly.)
||Lagutkin. (if Lara wants).
||Siedov (to the theatre).
||Solonitsyn (to the theatre).
||Surkov — ask him to send Enn Rekkor in Tallinn several
copies of the monthly containing Hoffmanniana.
How beautiful it is here (in Myasnoye)! What house we have!
Naturally for Tonino it may seem poor perhaps but for me it's
||Letter to father.
||To Sidelnikov's wife.
I have finished
Kafka's short stories and Metamorphosis. Somehow he does not
impress me much.
I am going to
Moscow for a meeting with Alik Boym and Gosha Rerberg. Then I'm going
to Tallinn. I sent them the agreement. They are waiting.
Kafka does not affect me.
A lot has happened since
my return from the country. I signed the agreement for screenplay
based on The Idiot. Hoffmanniana was published in
number 8 of "Iskusstvo Kino".
I was in Tallinn.
Unfortunately, we haven't signed an agreement for screenplay —
they haven't found the right subject yet.
I am beginning shooting
Stalker on the 26th of January. Hamlet is to be ready
on the 24th of December. I'm going to Isfara on the 1st.
On the 10th to Tallinn again.
Tonino is convinced
I'll be directing Travels in Italy. We have almost finished
the screenplay. There will be Russian scenes in it as well.
A lot of work
to do in Moscow.
— Write a screenplay
outline and send off to the Strugatskys in Leningrad. After reading
Arkady's letter I got the impression they were idling their time away
and did not understand what I wanted from them.
— Transcribe the outline
for the Italians, write the interview for Tonino, the letter to Tallinn.
The strenuous Hamlet
rehearsals continue. We are to present it on the 21st.
We lost three days — first Solonitsyn had a problem with his leg,
then Inna Churikova went to a concert, then Terekhova didn't show up
at the rehearsal.
The costumes, which
at first didn't turn out good at all — Katya's work — are
slowly being corrected by Tenghiz. He is very good.
Perhaps all is not lost yet.
I could use eight more
This about Stalker:
I talked Larissa into
working as the assistant director.
We still have no sound
Stalker — from
the English word.
I shot screen tests
for Stalker: Solonitsyn, Grinko, Kaidanovsky. I haven't watched
them yet. I am ill.
I decided to write
Shauro. It's time to decide about Mirror.
1. Why this film
(although it has been approved for distribution and obtained
the second category):
(a) isn't being
shown in cinemas?
(b) has been withheld
from distribution and is not introduced to cinemas despite the
(c) why is it being
said that it is the people responsible for distribution who are not allowing
the film if wherever I go they ask me themselves for help in securing
a print for them (in Tashkent for example)?
(d) why hasn't the
film been sold abroad despite USSR's need for hard currency
and the mass of orders sent to Sovexportfilm? Why has the price been
intentionally raised to such an excessively high level?
2. Please answer the
— isn't Mirror
a patriotic film with a deep moral resonance?
— or is it
perhaps an anti-humanist film or — perish the thought —
3. I received many
letters from viewers thanking me for Mirror and at the
same time asking with astonishment why they cannot see the film
Why the silence
around Mirror? Why has the film been suddenly taken
off the screens (the Taganka cinema and others)? Why aren't the
articles discussing the film being accepted for publication? There were
many of them.
In the theatre
everything is going badly. Zakharov probably wants to substitute
other actors for Solonitsyn and Terekhova. I won't agree.
Even if it means the end of the play. [...]
Larissa over the telephone yesterday that Mirror
has been sold to France and West Germany for 500,000 francs (!).
Never before has this amount been paid for any film made here.
I would still like
to make small changes in the editing. Especially in the penultimate
This bottle was smashed on the first day of shooting
15 February '77
28 May, Tallinn
[...] Mum is seriously ill,
she had a stroke. The entire right side of her body is paralysed.
The shooting of
[Stalker] is plodding along, I don't know what to do.
Aleksandr Boym is drinking. This is my last time working with him
assuming I won't part with him before the work's end.
Same with Gosha Rerberg.
Unreliable, despicable people without any ambition. Infantile degenerates.
Yesterday I had to
stay in bed. An attack of angina pectoris. For the first time.
The doctor wanted to take me to the hospital. I refused.
Mum is feeling
better. Unfortunately, I cannot visit my father on his 70th
This is all so horrible.
Almost everything will have to be reshot.
Simply everything — 1,400 metres. Not enough money.
Not enough energy. It was Rerberg's fault.
26 August, Tallinn
A lot has happened.
The damage is simply catastrophic. And despite everything an equally
strong feeling remains — no question about it — of
having reached a certain stage and a new level which must be
achieved — and this brings hope.
Everything we shot
with Rerberg in Tallinn is good for nothing twice over.
Firstly, the technical problems. Reasons: the processing of the
negative at the Mosfilm lab (the Kodak film we've received recently),
the lack of experience, and the condition of the equipment.
The chief engineer Konoplyov is responsible for this.
Rerberg is responsible
as well but for a different reason: he has betrayed
the principles of art and talent. He decided that talent meant himself,
that's why he degraded and destroyed it just like he destroyed himself. Through
drinking, godlessness, and base vulgarity. He has sold
himself cheap. From my point of view he is already a corpse.
I've made an appointment
with Leonid Kalashnikov. [...]
Everything has been
suspended for a month. One day before beginning the work on Stalker.
Since it has already happened, everything might as well be changed. The cameraman,
the set designer (I am going to risk it with Shavkat Abdusalamov),
the screenplay (need to write everything anew, create a new Stalker
who shouldn't be a drug dealer or a poacher type anymore but
a slave, an adherent, an idolater of the Zone).
So everything from
square one. Will there be enough energy?
I haven't been making
notes for a long time. A lot has happened over that period. I went
to Paris with Larissa to attend the Paris première of Mirror
organised by Gaumont. A great and, for our "top", unexpected success
(judging by their reaction). Very good press reviews.
[...] Zakharov decided
to introduce three new actors to replace Churikova, Terekhova,
and Solonitsyn. I prefer to change the bill.
Kalashnikov resigned from
cooperating on Stalker. His wife (but he as well) behaved
monstrously. She telephoned around all places imaginable with
declarations they "would not work" with me. He cowardly kept silent.
Tito Kalatozov had warned me about him once.
I hope we'll successfully
make Travels in Italy with Tonino Guerra.
In mid-May we are
starting (yet again!) shooting Stalker.
Must make the film
and initiate the proceedings against Konoplyov (letters to the Central Committee
[of the Communist Party]) and the Goskontrol USSR).
I had heart pains
the day before yesterday (angina pectoris). We called the ambulance
service. Poor Larissa — she was really scared. Did I hear a speech!
Oh, one more thing.
I work on my film as the set designer. For half the fee obviously.
on the list of the world's best 100 films. Among Soviet films
Chapayev was the only other one there.
was here yesterday.
I have had a heart attack.
I must undergo treatment
for two months. The bewitched Stalker.
Volodya sends in doctors,
Man normally does not
think of death. Why doesn't he believe he is immortal?
or I'd even say, sickly, problem: judging someone at first sight.
Is such judgment even possible? At any rate, I am very
frequently wrong when I judge people.
Must change my life.
Keep overcoming it. I'm reading Hesse.
[...] Mastery is
above all based on knowledge of what can be done and what
materials to use.
I never tried
to act according to a preconceived plan. That is, even if I knew
the goal and had a strategy, I had no tactics and made no use of it.
I kept losing a lot
of time in this fashion. Isn't it about time to change it and above
all to prepare a plan of action leading unfailingly to the goal?
The appropriate moment has likely arrived. After all there is not
so much time left to waste it.
I've been lying
flat in my bed for 9 days already. The doctors are saying that
today they may let me sit in bed. I didn't expect to have
a heart attack at forty-six. [...]
I received several
telegrams from France and Italy: Mastroianni, Tonino Guerra,
Daniel Toscan du Plantier, Sergio Leone.
A propos, if Leone
hasn't abandoned his ideas about westerns it would be
wortwhile to write the western about Grasshopper for him.
Talk to Tonino.
What should I
think about all this?
Indeed, incredible things are happening... But with a minus sign.
||For the third time we have no more film — 2,700 metres (Rerberg).
||After the change of the cameraman and the production manager,
Kalashnikov resigns and leaves (he shot 250 metres).
||I'll sack Boym for his constant drinking.
||I'll sack Abdusalamov for his obnoxious behaviour.
||They are not giving us money for a two-part film.
||In May we had to begin (or maybe to continue) the shooting
and on 5/6 April I had a heart attack.
||I submitted the manuscript [Sculpting in Time] to
the editors at "Iskusstvo". They came up with a mountain of
remarks which means the book has not been approved.
from Rome almost every day.
I can already walk
around my flat.
My heart is healing.
Tonino wants to read
the book. ("Iskusstvo" have proposed an abominable
||Whoever would understand a poet, must go into the poet's country.
Tonino sent me his book
consisting of 68 short poetic stories, some of them poems.
He proposes that I respond
to each of them and in this way a duel for 136 shots would be born.
Next week I'm leaving
for the sanatorium.
28 May, Sunday
I'm going to the
sanatorium on 1 June: Kola Shishlin has managed to get for me
the papers authorising me for the "Podmoskovye".
Larissa is in the
country. She was very ill. She is staying there until my
return from the sanatorium. [...]
28 June, Wednesday
We've arrived at Tallinn.
We are staying (Larissa and me) at the outskirts, by the sea. It's not
too bad but this is just the first day...
I was at the sanatorium
for over a month. I felt really homesick. The average patients'
age was 60. Distinguished service for the motherland.
I could do without
that trip. And without this one as well.
It's very difficult to
shoot this film. Nothing works. I think Kniazhinsky is not up to it.
The scene with the smoke didn't work out: bad location. The mood is absent
from the scene. I am really afraid this is going to be a flop.
I have completely
no idea how to film "the Dream". This ought to be something very simple.
We are failing to achieve
the most important thing of all: the sense of a steady change of location.
Man has existed for
such a long time and yet he still doubts the matters most important to
his existence. This is astonishing.
23 December, Saturday
I am not logging
everything pertaining to my work on Stalker in this notebook.
I am putting it in my work diary.
Lately I have felt
with increasing immediacy that a time of tragic experiences
and unrealisable hopes is approaching.
And this is happening
precisely when I feel such a strong need to create as never before...
I'm working on the
soundtrack, music will be needed soon... It is in fact a bit too long
but I think at the end of the day I'll manage to bring it
to the right length.
The film is going to be
a good one. This has been a new experience for me — it's simple
in form and at the same time it makes a clean break with the traditional
understanding of tasks and functions of cinema.
I hope after I finish
Stalker I shall manage to begin Travels in Italy assuming
there is no row about Stalker. But I think there will be one.
Unless Yermash doesn't want to look like a fool again as after
his games with Mirror. Is it possible? [...]
I'd like to take
a look one more time at plans possible to realise within next
The Master and Margarita.
A documentary. A film-meditation The Countryside (16 mm).
Travels in Italy.
A film based on Castaneda.
I need a 16mm camera,
with sound. Also a good tape recorder.
My work at Mosfilm.
Here is the correspondence:
an official letter from the distributors of Mirror (Tonino
brought it with him),
the second letter is addressed to me.
To the Mosfilm Headquarters
As distributors of Tarkovsky's film Mirror we would like
to present it to the film critics and to the Italian press at a
première which is to take place in the Spring of 1979 in
Saint-Vincent (Valle d'Aosta)
in the presence of the author, signor Tarkovsky. Hoping that
our invitation does not interfere with signor Tarkovsky's work
we should be very much obliged if you would approve and settle upon
a date of the presentation (in March) in order to allow us
the time to make the necessary preparations.
We thank you in advance.
We consider it our honour to present one of your films
to the Italian public which was never indifferent
to the work of Soviet filmmakers.
We are looking forward
to hearing from you and we send you our best regards,
Italnoleggio Cinematografico S.p.A.
And here is the letter
Rome, 7 November 1978
To the Esteemed
Mr. Andrei Tarkovsky
As distributors of your film Mirror in Italy we would like
to inform you of the plans to present your work at a première
for the critics and film press in March 1979 in Saint-Vincent (Valle d'Aosta).
at the presentation would be most desirable. We'd like to ask you
whether this would be possible and to propose a concrete date.
We consider it our privilege to present your film in Italy.
With our best regards,
(signature as above)
I am handing both letters
to Sizov on Monday.
[...] We were thinking
(with Tonino) that I should make a 16mm film in the country.
This ought to be
a confession related to the house in Myasnoye. A storm in a teacup.
A story about decorating
the fence until it becomes hideous.
should play myself (if he agrees). In the beginning a scene of
Sasha's arrival and an explanation why he should play me. Self-portraits.
Fellini — Clowns. Mirror — the hand and the bird.
The ending: Sasha
looks out the window and sees everything again in its original state
— Sasha turns into me.
Kuzya (a village
neighbour). The invalids' home.
The black creek.
A family quarrel.
Wife in tears, most likely someone has died.
But it is an ordinary conversation — a conflict about washing
Rain. Water on the
Film certain portions of
Travels in Italy. Who will be the "traveller"?
At 1am in the morning
Tonino and Lora came in. We had a quiet, calm evening together.
We discussed many issues with Tonino. It seems he understood my
position. I believe if such necessity arises he'll help me.
For now the idea for the amateur film (16mm, about the country)
is at the forefront.
5 January, Friday
Larissa and I are very seriously
thinking about Tonino. It's impossible to continue like this.
I have no idea how to pay back the debts.
Yermash won't let me go
to Italy in order to make Travels in Italy with Tonino until
I mutilate the film. [Stalker] On top of that he is going to
say my trip to Italy is only up to me.
But I am not going to
do anything and I shall be stuck here. Let's say I'll make
my "amateur" film. But then one must edit it! Where? Here? I'd need
a workprint and the studio soundtrack facilities.
This cannnot work: Mosfilm will claim their rights. Nobody
will allow me to leave before making alterations to Stalker.
Leave in the atmosphere
of a scandal?
This means almost two years
of torment: Andryushka at school, Marina, Mum, Father. They'll make their
lives miserable. What to do?!
pray! And to believe.
Most important — this symbol which wasn't given
to understand but only to feel. To have faith, despite everything
— to have faith...
We are crucified in one plane but the world is multidimensional.
We can feel it and we are tormented by the impossibility to know
the truth... But there is no need to know! There is a need to love.
And to have faith. Faith — it's knowledge with the help of love.
The garden would make
such a beautiful film!
One only needs to secure
the necessities: the equipment and the film. I must think how
to do it. We'd probably have to film it in April and May. Need to
Cleaning the garden.
[comp. 31 Dec. 1978]
— rain on the balcony,
— Pania, [?]
— meeting S., the dream,
"exchange of characters",
— Sergei the tractor driver,
— the dinner,
— the forester,
— the story of buying the
house. We were lost,
— the invalids' home.
— the "tragic" tears,
— the exchange again, the
— the shop,
— the teacher.
What about the religious
What embodies it?
The futility of action? The creative instinct? It's not very clear for now.
6 February, Tuesday
We were at Tonino's.
A supper with a highly placed official from Italian television.
A writer, playwright. He likes Tonino.
He said Lapin (?!)
had nothing against sending me out to Italy in order to shoot
Travels in Italy (me — for the Italians, and some
Italian — for us in the USSR).
Lapin — that's
an unexpected move! Completely independent from Yermash! Especially
at the time of some conflict between them. It's quite possible
this will succeed.
I saw Sizov —
he said everything with the Italians would be fine. Also with
the Italian première of Mirror. Stalker
ought to be presented at the Moscow festival. Provided
the film is finished as soon as possible.
I think I know
what's behind it:
(And how about
through Lapin now?)
not to let the film go to Cannes,
force me to make changes (Sizov has been asking already if
we really know where the action is taking place?),
and not let me out to Italy as a result.
I've found out
(from Knyazhinsky) that the film is being "bought" by the company
Gambarow–Chamier Interallianz GmbH (FRG). This information
came from Surikov, a Sovinfilm official.
It's all clear!
This means the film has been sold already!
10 February, Saturday
introduce Tonino to my father. On Monday I'll send someone
1 April, Sunday, Saint-Vincent [Mirror première]
I was running
around all day: the press conference, TV, etc.
amazing — he came with Lora from Rome for one day
especially to meet us. He worries about everything,
verifies, helps. This evening we are taking the bus
to Torino and then the train to Rome. Here it's sunny, mountains,
remnants of snow. People are still skiing. Ilyin (our
Sovexportfilm in Rome) was not present at the première.
2 April, Monday, Rome
We've arrived in
Rome. The train was excellent, comfortable beds. For now
we've seen the city only from taxi windows. A car
is arriving at 11 to take us to Tonino. Lora rang saying
yesterday's interviews appeared in two newspapers already.
One of them under
the headline: "The eminent director od Rublov to make film
in Italy". How are they going to take such a statement in Moscow?
Isn't all this going to end in a scandal...
9 April, Monday, Moscow
I am back
Italy is gorgeous,
Rome is powerful and brave.
Clean air (even
in the city), there are no factories — they
are situated at the outskirts.
plum trees blossom in the streets.
On my birthday
Tonino and his friend Franco took me out of town: Perugia
(a wondrous square in the centre), Pienza (a city designed
by some architect as homage to the pope Pius V), Asisi
— the city where St. Francis is buried. The cathedral
on two levels — staggering frescos by Giotto,
Montepulciano. The landscapes and
the old towns on the rocks are astonishing. I haven't experienced
such strong impressions for a long time.
I saw Michelangelo
Antonioni, Francesco Rosi, Federico Fellini. Trombadori —
a Communist member of Parliament —
made a startling speech at Rosi's. He exposed and
explained the differences between Italian Communists and ours.
we stayed in the same hotel in which the press conference was held,
from there we travelled by bus to Torino, and from Torino
by train to Rome.
10 April, Tuesday
are suggesting we submit Mirror for the prize
David di Donatello (the Academy prize) and they are promising
the award. Our [officials] refused and instead of Mirror proposed
some film by Lotyanu. In Rome everyone is taken aback.
yesterday evening. He says everyone really wants to help me
with Travels in Italy.
Today I asked
Larissa to tell Shkalikov that I intended to write Zimyanin
with a complaint about the Donatello Prize.
16 April, Monday, two o'clock in the morning
the Publications Committee and the publishers at "Iskusstvo"
asking them not to "wring" my book Confrontations [i.e.,
Sculpting in Time] too hard.
stubbornly insists on The Idiot. At all cost I must make
the Travels in Italy.
12 May, Saturday
are out of question. Yermash refused Cannes claiming the film
[Stalker] is so good he wanted to show it at the Moscow
I talked to Sizov about the letter from Italian TV concerning
the making of the film. He said they had received no letters yet.
As soon as they arrive (he is to receive a copy as well) the whole
matter will start moving. God willing! Is it possible?
Cannes has been
elliminated from my plans already. Hasn't this all happened before?
The Italians sent the
letter on 27 April. I can't make the final decision.
Larissa is going
to the country very soon to tidy up the house. She is leaving
22 May, Tuesday
I went to Riga.
I've earned 400 roubles over four days (seven presentations
and twenty minutes on TV).
I am tired. This
is boring. How I dislike those "viewer meetings"! Were it not
a life necessity I would never agree to them.
Larissa talked to
Lora and I found out today the letters from Italian TV
had been delivered four days ago (by somebody who had just arrived)
to Sizov, Yermash, and Shauro.
I'm going to Sizov
Larissa went to the
country with Araik and Rashid. I sent her 200 roubles. Oh, if
only the Italian project would succeed!
7 July, Saturday
I have no
documents for the trip to Italy yet. They are beginning to worry.
It upsets their plans — hotels, cars. It's possible Lora
is exaggerating slightly.
I arrived in Rome
yesterday. Transfer in Milan. I am late.
Wake-up call at 6 in the
morning. At 8 o'clock Ilyin is taking me to the meeting with the
Agostini is the
distributor who wants to buy Stalker. I should appear
at the press conference and warn there'll be a row if the film is shortened.
19 July, Rome–Amalfi, Hotel Carpaccio
We left Rome
at 8.20: Lora, Tonino, myself, Franco Terilli —
who manages our crew — the cameraman Giancarlo Pancaldi
with two assistants, and the unlikeable sound operator Eugenio
Rondoni. Our leaving Tonino's house was filmed for "Sputnik".
They also filmed inside Franco's Mercedes. It was a hot day.
We have filmed
"sheep crossing" at Pozzo d'Antullo (near Collepardo), the
monastery, a church in Dituralti, and a very old, unbelievably
We stopped not far
from Amalfi at an extraordinary hotel named Le Sarazzin.
Views impossible to imagine.
We are leaving
for Sorrento. A short episode was filmed in Furore: the
not very successfully, the story of Countess Gorchakov's
villa in Sorrento. We went sailing in the sea a little. That was
filmed. We went to Ravenna to film a small courtyard
completely overrun by hydrangea. I went swimming twice.
It was wonderful! I regret so much Tyapus and Lara are not here
with me. I miss them a lot.
A pan. A close-up of me and Tonino and then the pan.
The dialogue on the bridge. The landscape.
A close-up of Tonino.
21 July, the trip from Amalfi to Ostuni
An enchanting journey.
To tell the truth, I am tired. Later I'll mark our route on the map.
I am tired, I keep falling asleep. 300 kilometres in this heat
with a change of scenery every twenty minutes. I'd like to
write some letters. Tomorrow morning we'll be done with
Italy. We travelled it from the Thyrrenian Sea
to the Adriatic. Alberobello — an astonishing city!
Amalfi — Salerno — Potenza — Metaponto
— Taranto — Martina Franca — Locorotondo
— Alberobello — Ostuni (trulli!).
22 July, Ostuni, Hotel Incanto
Lecce and Otranto. Baroque in Lecce! We filmed.
I am not satisfied with the cameraman Giancarlo Pancaldi.
We went swimming in the evening. Franco, myself, Tonino,
Lora, Eugenio, Giancarlo, and two assistants.
A young man standing
by the roadside. A hitchhiker. He waves his hand.
Nobody stops. He looks sad. A blond. This makes me think of
Tyapa. He will also become an adult one day and begin to
Rondoni, the sound man, is first-rate.
The Red Desert...
on the streetcar to the cathedral.
to climb onto a mountaintop with a woman.
Ostuni. We went through Fasano, through the magnificent city
centre with two cathedrals. The sea is constantly to our right.
One can see the trulli on both sides of the road.
The roads are superb.
Trani. The cathedral
is next to the sea (by the road). We went swimming. We had
spaghetti, fish, and shrimps. The best breakfast so far.
Filmed two sequences with the cathedral.
24 July, Tuesday, Rome, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci
Write the letters
tomorrow. Phone Ilyin and the consul.
the area around Rome: Bomarzo (the monsters and Orsini's
castle — Civita (the dream). A town that is dying, near
Banbreggia — Bagno Vignoni (the baths) — return to Rome
through via Chianciano. [...]
25 July, Wednesday
I went to see Tonino.
Terilli brought the contract.
27 July, Friday, Rome
We've made the plan
for two-fifths of the screenplay. Everything
falls within the pattern of the first version. Tomorrow we are flying
to Sardinia, on Michelangelo Antonioni's invitation.
28 July, Saturday, Sardinia
We couldn't go
by air: there was a strike this morning. We took a ferry.
An eight and a half hours voyage. We arrived late, it was dark already.
Antonioni's house is round. The interior is completely white.
Tomorrow I'll take a closer look at everything. It's a sort of a
"bourgeois" modernist trifle.
I am tired. I fell
asleep in the car. I felt some heart pain. Tomorrow is our day
off! — I declared to Tonino.
29 July, Sunday, Sardinia, Michelangelo's villa, Costa Paradiso
I woke up at 7 in the
villa is by the sea, it's
surrounded by it.
Tamarisk, thuja, undersized trees, granite cliffs. An enchanting
odd beach with rocks sculpted by winds into extraordinary shapes.
The azure sea. It's a dream place. A paradise!
Where are my beloved,
my little Tyapa and Larissa?
I went swimming
and sunbathing. I am red as a lobster.
Michelangelo is very nice.
His wife Enrica is kindness itself. She is a perfect
hostess. I have a charming room, the sound of the sea
under my feet.
30 July, Monday, Costa Paradiso
We worked a little,
we wrote a summary but we ought to simplify things a bit for Yermash
and prepare a simpler, more schematic summary.
I read in the newspapers that Que viva Mexico! and
a film by Georgi Danelia will be sent to Venice.
Lizzani, the festival director, and Moravia were requesting Stalker
from Yermash but without success. So it is clear
they don't want to show it. The reasons given:
This got me really upset. Bastards!
Venice is a festival for dissidents (then why Danelia's film there?)
If we give Tarkovsky to Venice, then that festival may turn out more
important than the Moscow one.
2 August, Costa Paradiso
[...] We watched the Moon
through Michelangelo's telescope. [...]
3 August, Costa Paradiso
A conversation in the evening: Michelangelo attacked
Tonino about Special — that it wasn't finished yet and
haphazard. He complained Tonino hadn't asked anybody's advice.
Perhaps it's true — but Tonino is an angel and he wanted
everything to turn out as good as possible. [...]
5 August, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci
[...] I am again
at Hotel Leonardo da Vinci.
A telephone to Moscow
in the evening. Olga frightened me recounting the conversation
Larissa had had with Sizov about Stalker...
I left my electric
razor at Michelangelo's. He telephoned and promised to send it back.
I am happy with the way our work is proceeding. I long
for my little Lara, Tyapa, and Dak.
6 August, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci
I rang Olga again
this morning: there was no need to worry. Sizov or somebody simply
didn't like the workprint. (They can alter as they please but
without me!) [...]
I met Luciano Tovoli, the cameraman who is now making a film*
with Antonioni. It is he who'll be making Special. We talked a bit
and I think he was satisfied with our meeting. [...]
7 August, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci
Today is Tyapus' birthday!
He'll be nine years old today.
Need to phone Bobylev,
the consulate, and Ilyin. Send the telegram to Francesco Rosi,
to Moscow, and to Sergio Gambarov in Berlin.
I didn't work. In the
afternoon I saw a dumb film about Frankenstein. [...]
8 August, Rome — Bagno Vignoni
We are leaving for
Bagno Vignoni this morning. Tovoli and his wife, Eugenio, Franco,
and two more people. We filmed along the way: 1. church ruins
in Formello, 2. the landscape around Bagno Vignoni (Tuscany),
3. rams bunched up in the shadow of a tree by the road.
is a gentle and very pleasant person and his wife Letitia
makes me think of Vala, the production manager of Stalker.
9 August, Bagno Vignoni
There was a thunderstorm
this morning — magnificent. It rained. In the morning we went
to see the hot springs of St. Catherine. It's an excellent location
for the film.
I showed the creek
to Tovoli and the windowless room for Sputnik and for
Piero della Francesca's Madonna del Parto in Monterchi.
No reproduction can do justice to her beauty. [...]
This morning we filmed
St. Catherine's pool. We went sightseeing in the area. The
Abbey in the afternoon. [...]
Rain in the evening.
We didn't film the hot water creek. Everyone left for Rome:
Tovoli and his wife, Eugenio and Franco. I am staying with
Tonino and Lora. We are going to do some work.
15 August, Hotel le Terme
We've put some
solid work into the screenplay for the Russians. I am examining
the old abandoned house by the pool in Bagno Vignoni. Opposite my
21 August, Bagno Vignoni — Rome, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci
Here I am back
at the Hotel Leonardo, as usual in the same room 511. [...]
27 August, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci
I'm in the editing room. Special may turn out quite good. There
isn't enough material though. Need an hour and ten minutes. We'll have
more money then. I'll wait to see the colours in the
positive and then begin the editing. [...] The editor is Franco
Arcalli, the one who edited Antonioni's
Profession: reporter. [...]
28 August, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci
I edited Special.
Luciano Tovoli is ill:
an asthma attack.
29 August, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci
I was doing the editing.
The filming on Tonino's balcony (two days) is being postponed. [...]
30 August, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci
is finished. I talked to Tovoli about Special.
Tomorrow I'm up at 5 in the morning: the filming. [...]
31 August, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci
Early this morning
we filmed Special with Tonino. [...]
Almost 40 minutes of
usable material was shot. Bravo Andrei! Tovoli is pure gold:
he understands everything, he is very pleasant, working with him
is pure joy! [...]
Getting up at
3 am tomorrow.
telephoned: he did in fact buy the rights to Stalker,
already at the preparatory stage of the production, but from what he
says he never gave any film stock. Konoplyov talked
to Mikeiev, a lab engineer, and was asking him if it was possible
to prepare a good print directly from the negative. He wanted
to show how good Rerberg's work was.
1 September, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci
in the evening.
I woke up at 3.15.
Everything was filmed. After the film is edited it's going to be
1 hour 20 minutes. Tonino and I are thinking about negotiating
with TV. [...]
3 September, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci
is finished and typed.
I worked on the
I attempted to edit the film just after watching the material which
I still didn't like too much. Tomorrow!
In the evening I went with Franco
to see Zombie 2. A terrible, repulsive, horrible film.
6 September, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci
I spent the entire day editing. [...]
7 September, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci
I edited the material to show it on TV. It's not bad. I must
touch up everything before my departure and prepare the final
I got 4,600,000 lira
for reworking Special.
I saw Bertolucci's
La Luna. Trite and vulgar to nausea.
producers are showing interest in Travels in Italy. [...]
10 September, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci
I prepared the material for the showing tomorrow in view of the
increased funds for Special.
I booked the ticket
to Moscow for the 17th at 9.30. [...]
11 September, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci
A crazy day! In the morning I showed Special to Massimo Fichera
and his staff at RAI with the intent of increasing the material and
prepare a longer film. Everyone is so enthusiastic(!?) A well-known
critic said: "This is a masterpiece" (!!?) Only to them, I think.
Most importantly, Tonino loves it.
I prepared the cut so that
the film is 1 hr. 20 min. long. We need more time. How to make a feature
film with just few weeks for shooting and 3 days for editing!? I'll
do it anyway. Tonino is happy and proud. [...]
Summing up: over less
than two months we've written a screenplay, prepared its second version,
begun establishing The End of the World,
and filmed Special. That's fantastic! That's what I call life!
Work purely for pleasure. [...]
12 September, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci
TV have extended Special. Franco Terilli added
40,000,000 lira with 30% from the sales for me and for Tonino.
The press conference
turned out not too bad.
I received the
money: 4,000,000 lira. I paid the tax of 1,000,000. I have to
deliver 50% to our embassy.
Evening at Francesco
and Giancarla Rosi. Martin Scorsese and Isabella
Rossellini are a charming couple.
13 September, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci
I went round some shops and worked on the editing of Special a bit
(I went in twice to see what Franco Letti was doing). [...]
14 September, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci
I edited a bit.
I spent entire day mostly going round shops. I didn't buy anything
expensive. Except a little thing for Larissa! I am tired! I glanced
in the mirror and I got frightened. I took the 2,000,000 lira to the embassy.
There are many
repercussions from my press conference.
Moravia wants to interview me. I have no time.
I spent the entire
time before noon walking from one shop to the next. I walked the entire
length of via Sannio and bought nothing. I am dead tired. Editing
Special. There isn't enough time.
I had dinner with
Samokhvalov at Tonino's home in the evening.
At night I tried
in vain to get through to Moscow.
I am so
exhausted — like a dying dog! I am falling off my feet.
I edited Special all day.
It is 3.15 am now,
need to get up at 5!
I couldn't get through
to Lara. I wonder if they'll go out to pick me up.
The flight to Moscow.
The airplane takes off at 9.30 in the morning. Alitalia.
Today at 1 in the
afternoon my Mum passed away. Earlier there was Italy for two
months. I wrote about it in my Italian diary. About Nostalghia
Today Mum passed away.
She was in great pain.
For the last two days she was on promedol and I hope she didn't feel
the pain. But what can we know about death if we know nothing about
life. And if we do know, we try to forget.
God! May her soul
rest in peace.
Today is Mum's funeral.
(At the exhibit
for the 60th anniversary of the Soviet cinema my only film shown
was Ivan's Childhood).
The Vostryakovsky Cemetery. Now I feel defenceless. Nobody in the world
will love me as much as my Mum. In the coffin she looked completely
I am becoming more
and more convinced of the necessity to make changes in my life. I should
make them with more courage and look forward with certainty and hope.
My dear, dear loving
Mum. You'll see — God willing — I'll still accomplish
a lot in life. One must begin anew! Farewell... no, not farewell
as we are going to meet again, I am sure of it.
[...] Leonid Mossin
said Angelo Genti had told him Tonino Guerra was persuading
me to stay in Italy.
What to make of it?
Is this true or is it just information about their attitude
to me? An allusion to the situation? What does it mean? A preparatory
step for a refusal to let me out to Italy? [...]
Life in a waiting
room (or out of suitcases) keeps on going in all of its grayness.
Larissa is in the
country, she is ill, she has fever. It's simply impossible to live
like this any longer.
God! What deathly
sadness... It's so disgusting one loses the will to continue.
This feeling becomes the more terrible the more one realises that
loneliness means death. Everyone either has already betrayed me or is
betraying me now. I am alone... All the recesses of my soul
are opening and it becomes defenceless as death encroaches upon it.
I am afraid to be alone. I don't want to live.
I am afraid, life for me is unbearable.
I gave Nostalghia to
Sizov. He said there were no letters from RAI so far.
(And what's all this?)
at the Kurchatov Institute club (100
possible in this world!
at the Institute for Radio and Television Research (100 roubles).
I was in Poland.
Warsaw, Katowice, Poznań.
I saw Beata
Tyszkiewicz, Andrzej Wajda. Beata wants me to help her with
a screenplay based on Cortázar. A beautiful subject. [...]
The day before
yesterday (on Friday) I had a presentation at the Institute of World Economy
I have been told
that Stalker will receive the third category
and will be distributed like Mirror, without any
advertising. Neya Zorkaya said so yesterday at the House of Culture,
she was preparing the advertising notices. I incited Arkady
Strugatsky who intends to write Zimyanin.
Today I had
a presentation at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
I made an acquaintance
with the chancellor Oleg Byelotserkovsky. We started talking about
I've seen Seryozha
Mitrofanov lately. We phoned and he came over. He talked about
Yoga a lot. He has one explanation for all fortune telling,
spiritism etc.: receiving information through concentration.
He told my fortune twice already: once before and now.
Question (the previous fortune): Is it worth it to suddenly change
my life, to begin it almost anew, or at least in new circumstances?
Answer: Yes, it is worth it. If nothing is changed I'll get bogged
financially and I'll make many enemies. If I change my life
I'll become famous. (If famous that means ability to work and that's
Question (asked now): Do I have a moral right to these changes?
Answer: Yes, I do.
Question (asked now): Should I believe that Pasternak told the
truth when he mentioned four films?
Answer: No, shouldn't believe it, this is not so.
Question (asked now): Will I be able to take Andryusha with me?
Answer: Yes. This will depend on a woman (Larissa? Giancarla?
The ambassador's wife?)
I don't like the
screenplay we wrote with Tonino. The most
important thing is missing. There are no real scenes.
Never mind, we'll rewrite it. Now I'm waiting for the letters
from TV, from Rome.
I had a presentation at the
Electronics Research Institute (100 roubles).
I went to Kharkov with Masha.
I saw Oleg and Lyuda Tochilin. I had four presentations (550 roubles).
Then Tbilisi (70 roubles). Paradjanov. Terrible.
Such a shame. They don't give him work. No means.
He is probably afraid to get involved in the previous affairs.
debts: Chubchik — 130 roubles, Alosha Artemyev — 1,500 roubles.
Volodya Sedov was here.
I asked him to sum up our debts to him. I think it's something
like 500 roubles.
Meeting Volchich tomorrow.
Tell him (a letter to TV):
Pay the debts.
Return the manuscripts. Photographs. Records. Clothes. Pots and pans. Other.
for how long Larissa and I are leaving (one year),
what would be the amount of the salary or fee,
which actors will be needed and for how long,
how is the work going to be defined? As a service? How?
Religion and art —
two sides of the same coin.
I went with Masha to Kazan
for three days where I had seven presentations. I met Rashid.
A large audience.
The projection was very bad but the interest was enormous.
I received 1,000 roubles.
They called from Sizov.
He asked me to see him tomorrow. Some new "difficulties". (Probably
about Andryusha. God help me!)
Looks like I must
write somebody and go to Yermash.
It's difficult for me
to define my future path. I am a bit lost in my present life.
I only know one thing — that the life I lived until now,
with very little work, experiencing the unending stream of negative
emotions which are of no help but the opposite, they violate the
sense of life's meaning which is indispensable, even if, for work
— I cannot live like this anymore. I am
scared of this way of life. There isn't enough left of it to afford wasting
On Sunday Lara went
to Myasnoye to "conclude the matters".
Well, it looks like
it has started: Sizov advised me to see Yermash who in turn appears to
look astonished that I should want to go with my son. If he doesn't see me
tomorrow I'd have to create a scandal.
27 December, Thursday
I tried to see
Yermash. He is busy today. I'll phone later in the day to try
to make it in the evening although I doubt it very much.
I have telephoned.
No result. I'll phone again at 7.
At 7 I was told
that another secretary will telephone tomorrow at 11 and let me know
when I can come since Yermash intends to see me before the
28 December, Friday
I phoned myself as
I received no message from the secretary. I called at 12.
She doesn't know anything. Nobody has given her any message for me.
She promised to find out and to contact me at home. We shall see.
If I am to go on
living the way I do now and the way I work now — going with
the flow — I'll never get anywhere. My life (and my work as well)
is set up in
such a way that no work represents the optimal variant,
the safest and most desired by the authorities.
Larissa should have come
back yesterday but she is still not here. [...]
The secretary from
Goskino telephoned and asked me to phone tomorrow morning at 10.
They are going to tell me when to see Yermash.
29 December, Saturday
given to me says be at Goskino before 3.30 pm. God help me!
I couldn't sleep at all.
I woke up three times. I dreamt about a dead woman who was carried
along the platform to the train.
Committee of the CPSU [the Communist Party] has sent a sort of
half-open letter to Mosfilm in which they condemned the low
artistic level of films and as examples they used:
The Cat in the Bag,
Youth With Us, and Stalker.
The distribution of
Stalker is planned for the second quarter of 1980 in two
I saw Yermash. He
is categorically against Andryusha accompanying us. Obviously.
I demanded respecting my rights. I said I'd demand justice through
Sizov was there as well,
I am very glad about it.
I went to Oleg Khalimonov's
birthday. I asked him to find out everything concerning my rights
so I could go with Andryushka according to the existing law.
I went to see Sizov
yesterday. He said Yermash's problem was not his fear of my not returning
(it is even sort of the other way around — he had told
Sizov that as far as he is concerned he can rely on me) but that
Yermash is worried about difficulties that would arise from my
demands which are something new to Goskino: a business trip
including the family. This hadn't happened before.
I told Sizov this
was a new type of work hence extended demands which are compatible
with the government regulations dealing with this type of
leave resulting from a job abroad. Sizov answered that first of all
I should contact Shauro regarding the matter and if he doesn't want
to deal with it, contact Zimyanin.
I got through to
Shauro. Or to be more exact, he phoned himself when he found out
I was looking for him — that's in how much hurry he was to
distance himself from the question of my family going with me.
He said this was not within his competence but Goskino's
— the entity delegating me.
I told this to Sizov. He said it wasn't a good thing
Shauro did not want to solve this problem. I should now ask for
a meeting with Zimyanin. And if he doesn't agree to see me I'll have
to write a letter.
Tomorrow I shall find
out Zimyanin's office phone number and ask him to see me. Or perhaps
it's better to write the letter immediately? Yes, no matter how the
situation develops I'll write the letter.
I decided to go and
see Shkalikov tomorrow and ask him why Yermash is forcing me to fight
for my rights, the rights which the Soviet state guarantees me
while Yermash is denying them. Such fight may lead to categorical
and extreme demands
arising from the inability to obtain what is guaranteed by law.
Does Yermash want me to demand the right to leave the USSR as a
response to his persecution?
4 January, Friday
I saw Shkalikov this
morning. He was talking about the conflict with Yermash. He was
indignant at his treatment of me.
Summing up: Shkalikov
thinks our tempers got the better of us. Yermash got upset because Goskino
had never before sent anyone with children. This is supposedly
"a novel issue" and this surprise irritated him.
I answered that despite
all that I was not going to let go of the matter and allow Yermash
to deny me my citizen rights. I must wait. Shauro was
right. Now eveything depends on Goskino.
announced that in retaliation for the Soviet invasion of their country
there would be acts of terror against Soviet citizens abroad. If that's
true then fine time we are choosing to go to Italy! Naturally it's not
me that I'm worried about.
I saw Volchich.
He cleared up the issue of our trip. He will prepare a document
on behalf of TV for Yermash asking him to send me to Rome earlier
since the deadlines are approaching.
Oh, forgot to write
down that I had a presentation at the Science Research Institute
for which I received 100 roubles. The telephone call cost me 60 roubles.
A presentation at the
Sakharov Institute on Lenin Prospect. (90 roubles).
Mosfilm are preparing the
details about my trip with Larissa for two months (per Goskino's
request). I telephoned Shkalikov: he said he didn't know anything.
I responded that in this case I was going to demand a free leave from
USSR to work in Italy. Shkalikov got frightened. He said he would
try to clear the matter up. We shall see.
I am not going to
surrender. What might happen is that Yermash will kick me out
of my flat.
[...] I saw Sizov.
The whole matter of our business trip to Italy has landed
squarely on his desk. Sizov wants (or rather — wanted)
to prepare the formalities related to me leaving with Larissa to
Italy on account of "preparing the contract". I am worried
that later they will simply extend our stay there and we'll be left
without Andryushka. And if we wanted to go back to Moscow,
they'd find an excuse not to let us come back for Andryushka. If I go alone
to prepare the contract I shall not begin the work until I get
Lara and Andryushka out. Tomorrow I'm going to confer
with Volchich and to see Dobrokhtov on the 12th.
Tonino rang from Rome.
12 January [Saturday]
letter will be sent from Rome on Monday with the information for Sizov
that I should go to Italy without further delay in order to prepare
the preliminary contract.
Then I am to return
here with a RAI representative who is also to sign (in the final
phase of the project discussion) the contract as a representative
of the Italians.
The screenplay has been
officially accepted at the RAI Channel Two. Tonino rang from Rome.
He told me about the contract issues.
On Friday we went to
the Dom Kino [House of Cinema] with Larissa and Araik
and saw one and a half films by Miklós Jancsó:
Hungarian Rhapsody and Allegro barbaro.
We didn't last
until the end and we left. Simply awful — no taste,
pretentiousness, ambiguity. Trite and
without an iota of talent. A rabid, incompetent Paradjanov disciple.
Night 21/22 January
I was editing the
Stalker documentary with Araik.
Tonino rang from Rome.
26 January, at night
deported academician Sakharov near Gorky (Shcherbinki).
There are protests around the world. [...]
2/3 February, at night
Yesterday I had a
presentation at the Progress (100 roubles). A good audience.
Solonitsyn was there, he came to see the film for the first time.
Lara is in Kazan.
Tyapa and Tosya left for Nara for Saturday and Sunday. It's
empty, sad, and boring here at home.
or rather Tonino from Rome. "Nothing has changed."
I am tired of waiting.
Unproductive and tiresome.
[...] I simply can't
get any information regarding my trip. The news on the radio is
frightful. I must talk to Sizov.
[...] I talked to
Sizov. There is still no news about Italy.
[...] Larissa is in
Kazan. She is treated there. And I am "waiting for Godot". Sizov doesn't know
anything about my trip.
It's sad... Work on the
book? [Sculpting in Time] Thoughts about the country home
came back again.
Tonino rang again today.
It looks like the Italians are reacting with consternation.
God only knows how all this will end. The times are uncertain.
What is awaiting us? What is awaiting Russia? God save us...
[...] There is no
news about Italy.
Tonino asked me
on the phone if I was thinking about Nostalghia...
No, I'm not. I can't work without absolute certainty.
I should have been
working for a while by now. It's high time!
But I do believe!
I believe God will not abandon me...
I went to Kazan
on the 15th with Masha Chugunova. The Bureau of Propaganda had
set up ten audience meetings. But the film wasn't there
(the fault of the busybodies at the Moscow bureau) and I had to
make up for it with a presentation over two hours long.
I am terribly tired.
I came back by plane.
Bogomolov telephoned today
— the Goskino editor-in-chief. There is a meeting of the
editorial staff on Saturday with the heads of Goskino's republic
divisions. There will also be a debate. I don't feel
like it. It smells like a provocation to me.
There is no news
about Italy. I must go to see Yermash.
I came back to
Moscow a long while ago. Lara is in Kazan. There is a delay in the trip
so RAI should send a confirmation that they still need me —
that's according to Sizov. Perhaps this is just an excuse
not to let us out to Italy. One could always say the situation
did not allow it due to political reasons, for example. On the other
hand there was the decision by the Central Committee to allow me
to leave in order to make the film.
Yermash provoked me
into a presentation at the all-union filmmakers' conference. My speech
was completely unsuccessful. That's what happens when one talks for no
reason, only "for the cause".
I promised myself
not to go to presentations "at the request of the authorities" anymore.
On Thursday (?)
I went to see Sizov. He wasn't happy with my talking at the conference
about problems with shooting Stalker. Not really upset
but worried. But all I wanted was to bring this
black sheep of ours — Konoplyov — back in line.
There is the permit
to go to Italy. Sizov said I would be leaving in seven–nine
days. He asked me not to stay very long (I think the visa is
for two months).
I'm ill. I lost my
voice. I have a sore throat.
Begun 22 March
1980. I haven't finished the old notebook as this one is
smaller and more suitable for travel.
22 March 1980, Saturday, Moscow
In about ten days
I'm flying off to Rome to prepare the preliminary version of the
contract between myself, Sovinfilm, and RAI which would be
satisfactory to all concerned. (For me it's going to be
disadvantageous no matter what.) It would be wonderful if I didn't
have to travel back and some official could instead arrive in Italy and sign
the contract. From Rome it would be easier for me to put pressure on
Goskino and Yermash.
I must rely
on Araik and ask him to run all my Moscow matters for me.
Yesterday I asked Masha
for a favour while I'm away. I regret it — she agreed to help
me against her will.
I'll use this notebook
in Italy, for now I'm returning to the old one.
Tonino rang from Rome.
We talked through Lora of course. I was awarded Prix Donatello
(a kind of Italian Oscar). It's a very important prize.
Sizov wants me to
appear at a conference on Friday...
The Italians are supposedly
thinking about suing for damages in the amount of 100,000 dollars
or so if I do not make the film there.
31 March/1 April, night, Moscow
I went to Sovinfilm
and talked to Boris Pavlov. We discussed several issues and later
telephoned Sizov and went to see him at Mosfilm. They decided I should
immediately go to Rome and close the preliminary contract so the
preliminary work for the film can begin and then, when signing the
final contract, include in it the details of RAI's service fees
in the USSR.
I'm flying off probably
on Monday or — it would be better — on Tuesday. It all
depends on the flight schedule.
Lora and Tonino phoned
today. If it wasn't Easter [6 April] I'd be flying on Sunday.
Flying tomorrow to
Kazan to Lara for two days.
Today I came back from
Kazan where I spent 24 hours. I went to see Lara.
11 April, Friday, Rome, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci
I am once again
in Rome, and again at the same hotel. What's more, in the same room
511! I'm giving it a special significance.
I was at the TV offices. There
are lots of problems with the contract because there is no such
thing and there can be no such thing here
as a "preliminary contract" for television.
Need to contact
Sizov immediately and ask for his advice especially as the
idea of the "preliminary" contract was his.
to the TV people how they should talk to "us".
Conto 273313. L. 7.028.799. That's for the documentary
film about the travels.
13/14 April, night
[...] I have
talked to Sizov twice already. At first he said the studio could
sign any contract. The second time he was not so sure but promised
to talk to Yermash and was convinced Yermash "will manage".
I must send
the telegram and the contract to TV in Moscow.
We had supper
with Francesco and Giancarla Rosi. They liked the presents and
I'm happy they enjoyed them.
An Italian journalist
was there — Trombadori — who lived in Russia for a long time
and a Spaniard Carlos who did the revolution on Cuba with
Castro. Now he is a refugee.
He talked about the popular protests. An interesting man. He said
he had never killed anyone and that he only charged with his microphone.
That was his answer
to my opinion that blood only brings more blood.
The most important thing now
is to save the contract.
During dinner with
Franco Terilli yesterday the busboy at the restaurant brought me
a note from a lady who thanked me for my films and wished me
Strange. They know me
here as well? That's probably a coincidence.
Narymov phoned. I must see
14 April, Monday
A lot has been happening.
I saw Tempo di viaggio this morning. I have to shorten it. It's
very badly edited. The episodes are in the wrong places.
I went to see Narymov.
He is being very active. Tomorrow morning he'll send a telex to Surikov
asking him for the data for our contracts. Later he will let him know
the amounts contained in the contracts.
We phoned Yermash.
There was a slight commotion there with the news that I supposedly intended
to sign the contract myself. We calmed him down.
It seems they swallowed
and accepted the news that there can be no preliminary contract.
We discussed the financial matters. I am to receive 30 million lira.
Larissa — 300,000 per week.
Solonitsyn is getting
the same daily rate as Mastroianni (when he works for TV).
Tonino is suggesting
shortening Stalker for the Italian distribution to avoid
having the distributor do it. This makes sense.
First of all throw out
the scene by the puddle (without Stalker).
15 April, Tuesday
I've been editing Tempo di viaggio since morning. I threw out 6 minutes
from the first half. [...]
16/17 April, Wednesday
I worked in the editing room. I shortened everything to 63 minutes.
It's better but it's necessary to do the soundtrack all over again.
Franco Terilli says there is no money. I have to think of something.
In the evening we went to Rosi with Lora and Tonino. Carlos again
and some rubbish with big names. Several Spaniards.
Tonino met the
distributor who bought Stalker. He threw his way an idea
to ask Goskino to send the film to Cannes. Perhaps he would buy
the documentary from the making of Stalker. We shall see.
I edited Tempo di viaggio. Unfortunately, no soundtrack work on
Monday. We didn't make it on time.
A supper with
Samokhvalov, Narymov, and the distributor of Stalker who
asked our officials to help with sending Stalker to Cannes
to Gino Augustini. Samokhvalov promised to help. We shall see.
18 April, Friday
I worked at Fono-Roma. Tempo di viaggio is much better.
Still I shall have to ask again for the money to redo the soundtrack. An
uncomfortable situation. First we asked for 30 minutes then for 1
hour, then for one and a half. Now we are asking for 1 hr. 5 min.
It's a bit odd. Despite all that I'm happy with the work done.
19/20 April, Saturday
brother) arrived with Maria. The dinner they brought with them
I saw Coppola's
Apocalypse Now. A very weak actor in the main role,
bad dramaturgy. A film without spine. A live action comic strip.
20 April, Sunday
21 April, Monday
Went to see Narymov
in the morning and phoned Yermash. He wants the Italians to
come to Moscow in order to sign the contract.
I edited the film.
I'd like to finish it tomorrow.
22 April, Tuesday
I finished the editing of Tempo di viaggio: one hour three
Here it has been
decided already: Colombino is going to Moscow with the proposed
contract. He coordinates it, comes back to Rome for Paolo Grassi's
signature and goes to Moscow again to sign the contract. I need
to ask them (RAI) to convince Goskino that my trip to Moscow
is not possible. (Even to sign the contract.)
25 April, Friday
I'm in bed.
I feel awful — influenza.
I must phone Samokhvalov
today. Pavlov is arriving with a translator on Monday for the contract.
And what does our agreement with Yermash look like now,
the agreement that it was the Italians who were supposed to go to Moscow?
I talked with
Samokhvalov over the phone about the arrival of Pavlov and
Yerovshin from Sovinfilm. He said that even with the latest
news they would be still arriving here since that's "how it was
decided". Magnificent! What logic... [...]
28 April, Monday
are on strike. We couldn't prepare the new soundtrack for
Special. The strike continues tomorrow. [...]
29 April, Tuesday
At Fono-Roma I copied from records the music for Special, I met
Rostotsky [a Russian film director]. He threw himself at me for an
embrace and a kiss. I can only imagine what he wanted to hide by
this action. God, what a scoundrel!
I phoned home,
talked to Tyapus. Better not to mention it...
30 April, Wednesday
I was selecting the music for the new Special soundtrack.
It's been raining the whole day — awful weather. I'm going
to the embassy with Samokhvalov tomorrow: May Day.
5 May, Monday
We didn't manage
to redo the soundtrack for Special.
Not a single act among the seven.
6 May, Tuesday
We worked a bit with Tonino. At 3 o'clock the rerecording of
Special. We did four acts. Tomorrow another four and
I am in a foul mood.
Our representatives from Sovinfilm are arriving any moment now
while Colombino from RAI is in Moscow. How are they going to
communicate? How is the contract supposed to be signed? God only knows.
7 May, Wednesday
I finished rerecording Tempo di viaggio. Pavlov and Yerovshin
have arrived. All of us (including Narymov) went to see Fichera
at RAI. Their attitude seems quite normal, I think. But the contract
should be signed in Moscow. I must definitely stay here to assemble
the crew, find the actors, etc.
A contract project from
RAI was handed over to our representatives, the Italians in turn
received the project prepared by the Russians.
In the evening
I talked to Tonino and we wasted a lot of energy discussing
possible results of the actions by the Russians.
9 May, Friday
We met twice at RAI
with our officials. They demanded unbelievable sums but it was
explained to them that RAI was a government institution and accepting
the Soviet terms would make it impossible to make any films
besides Nostalghia as it would consume the year's entire budget.
I am forced to prepare
fictitious budgets for fictitious scenes because it's necessary to
submit to RAI the cost of scenes to be filmed in the USSR.
Tonino and I haven't got
the screenplay ready yet.
Most likely a preliminary
contract covering the beginning of the shooting will be signed.
Then I'll be able to stay in Rome to work while the main contract
will be signed without me. It will be easier for Larissa
to insist on leaving with Andryushka. I am tired of running around
and all this mess. Lora's Italian is not sufficient.
We met at the TV offices.
RAI and Sovinfilm are slowly finding a common ground. Our officials
are signing the preliminary contract immediately, a guarantee for the
work to begin. Then they are leaving. In June RAI are signing the
contract in Moscow.
I think I shall stay
in Rome for now to work with RAI on the film cost calculation.
Renzo Rosso did an
interview with me before his trip to Cannes. It seems the French
distributor is going to show Stalker.
13 May, Tuesday
I was at TV since this
morning where the preliminary contract was signed. It allows me to
begin the preparatory work. [...]
Fichera mentioned vaguely
that he'd prefer an Italian actress for the translator part.
Last night I talked to Sophia in Stockholm.
I asked her to mention to Bergman an idea of three of us making
a film: Bergman, Antonioni, and myself. If he declines one could
think of someone else. Kurosawa? Buñuel? But I think he does not
want to make any more films.
Oh yes! Very important
news — today, 13 May, Stalker was shown in Cannes.
The French distributor bought it for 500,000 dollars (!)
I know of only one
critic's reaction. The same who liked Special. (Kezikh?)
Something will most
likely be in the newspapers tomorrow. The film was apparently shown
as a "surprise". Last year Wajda's Man of Marble was shown
in this fashion.
During the supper
I began to understand from Narymov's remarks that Goskino intended
to renew our visas every three months. Most likely in order to
prevent us from bringing Andryushka with us. I think from the legal
and practical side this won't prevent us from creating a scandal
and demanding to bring our son with us. I'm afraid. These are
unpredictable, scary circumstances.
15 May, Thursday
Rondi phoned from
Cannes. He said Stalker created a sensation. Everyone is talking
only about this film. [...]
I was also told
about Rondi's request for my participation in the (film?) jury for the
Donatello Prize in June. I'd probably have to decline if I am
to direct Nostalghia for RAI.
Tonino is also
thinking of suggesting Special for an out-of-competition
presentation at the Venice festival.
We worked all day.
Sophia (I forgot to write it down last night) rang from Stockholm.
Bergman is very interested in a film by the three of us — Bergman,
Antonioni, Tarkovsky — but he is unfortunately booked up
through 1983. He would really like to see me. Sophia says he saw
Rublov ten times.
Martine Offroy phoned
from Cannes. She told us about the great success of Stalker.
By requests of the audience, the jury, and the critics the film will
be shown again tomorrow (!)
Gaumont have expressed
interest in producing Nostalghia.
17 May, Saturday
I got through
to Moscow — Larissa is back! How I long after her!
Seems she hasn't
quite recovered yet. In two weeks she is leaving for Kazan again
for two days. We had little time and I didn't manage to tell her much.
We cannot talk again (because of the telephone) until next Wednesday.
20 May, Tuesday
Went to RAI —
I signed some paper which allows me to receive my daily rates.
21 May, Wednesday
I got through phoning
home. I talked to Lara and Tyapus. Lara isn't feeling too well yet.
She longs to see me. Me too. When is all this going to end?
When are we going to be able to live all together?
The Moscow première
of Stalker took place in cinema Mir and it was
a resounding success. I told them about Cannes. Larisa is
suing Uzbekfilm on my behalf: to this day they haven't paid for the
screenplay and the film is already in cinemas.
22 May, Thursday
I talked to Lara
and Tyapus over the phone. Lara got through to Yerovshin.
She asked him if they understood she could not leave without her son.
Yerovshin answered that yes, they understood that. I don't know what
to think. To all appearances everything looks all right.
Will Tyapa and Lara
come here? Is it possible?
23 May, Friday
"Our" boys from the
embassy made futile attempts to made me accept some actress which
was supposedly indispensable for some reason. I figured her out.
I hope they'll never again attempt to push their stupid ideas
on me. She has some "very important" contacts for them...
I met a representative
of the Donatello Prize committee today. She invited me
to Sicily to receive the Luchino Visconti Prize. A Russian, very
old, Elena Gavrilovna, her Russian is bad. I told her
I'd try to come, regardless of work, together with my wife.
Perhaps with Andryushka? (That, however, I didn't say outloud,
only thought it).
twice, didn't catch Larissa. During the second call I talked
to Araik. He was telling me about the film on making Stalker.
25 May, Sunday
I started the Russian
translation of our new screenplay and errors became apparent immediately.
We must correct many things.
I went with Tonino to
a performance by a Swiss pantomime theatre, their last show.
Three astonishing young people, one woman among them. They presented
an amazing, poetic show. In total silence, without music, without
a sound. Some of the etudes were simply delightful. [Was it
In the evening
I had a talk with Tonino and his stories about life in Italy
and in the West in general made me feel down and sad.
26 May, Monday
I must start a
separate diary for everything work-related. Just as I did
with Mirror and Stalker. We discussed the matter
of the translator today.
I talked to Larissa.
She is not feeling well. Does it mean Musharapov was of no help?
Anna Semyonovna's blood pressure is too high. She must stay in bed.
My poor Larochka!
She is going to the country with Tyapa. I don't quite get it.
Anna Semyonovna is in Moscow and she is ill after all. I'll be
talking again tomorrow. My sweetie pie...
6 June, Friday
I am reading an amazing
essay by Lorca — surprisingly passionate, sublime,
deep, truly poetic remarks.
Lara told me that
when she asked
Sizov if he knew about the reception of Stalker in Cannes,
he responded: "Yes, it was a fiasco. People were leaving in the
middle of the film". Interesting, who gave him this information?
Latrissa immediately cheered him up by mentioning the reviews and the
two prizes. Then Sizov asked: "Then why didn't they enter
it in the competition?" Larissa answered that she'd like to know
Talked with Larochka and
Tyapus. Lara says Araik managed to buy strawberries and they
(Tyapus and his friends) were simply stupefied by this. My God!
Lara said my permit
was for three months, not two, and I shouldn't worry.
In the evening I
watched Cocteau's Return of Orpheus [sic] on TV.
Where are you, the
great ones?! Where are Rossellini, Cocteau, Renoir, Vigo?
The great poor of the spirit.
What happened to poetry?
Money, money, money,
and fear... Fellini is afraid, Antonioni is afraid... Only Bresson
is not afraid of anything.
9 June, Monday
We were showing the final variant of Tempo di viaggio at RAI. They
liked it very much.
[Two months later Tarkovsky went back to Moscow (3 August 1980).
After brief visits to England and Sweden in 1981 (for the opening
of Stalker in Sweden) he went back to Italy on 7 March 1982 to shoot
Nostalghia. He never went back to Russia.]