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March 17th

Memory & Time

Nostalghia (RUS/ITA, 1983, 125 min.) Andrei Tarkovsky

Discussant: James Macgillivray, Architecture, University of Toronto



Tarkovsky’s 1983 film Nostalghia the involuntary ‘shock’ of memory is more fully encompassing of the protagonists full life, while at the same time the literal portrayal of this ‘shock’ is more dramatic. For him, an everyday reality can bring back the memory of his childhood encompassed by his life in Russia. It is not necessarily the touch/smell/taste that bring back the memory, but that he is constantly living a duality and is always connected to the involuntary memory in one way or another.

“Tarkovsky can be said to "work through" his own nostalgia by interrogating and manipulating the character of Gorchakov, which is an example of a narrative device known as mise en abyme, a condition in a work of art where a fragment of the work replicates, in miniature, the entire composition of the work. The mise en abyme of Nostalghia is unique because the symmetry across scales (a story within a story) ultimately points back to Tarkovsky. The making of Nostalghia, the nostalgia of Tarkovsky himself, is contained within Nostalghia.” (Macgillivray)

  James Macgillivray is a lecturer at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. Prior to his position at Daniels, Macgillivray was Assistant Professor of Practice in Architecture at the University of Michigan where he was awarded the William Muschenheim Design Fellowship in 2011. Macgillivray is a founding partner of LAMAS Inc, a design practice with projects in Italy, Canada and the United States. Macgillivray has published widely on film, architecture and projection in several journals and books.

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