nostalgia revisited

by Andrea Elizabeth

“It will be something which will move us on a deep spiritual level – much deeper than emotion! This level of experiencing is akin to a state of NOSTALGHIA. Here the word “nostalghia”, which one of Tarkovsky’s films bears as its title, is to be understood not in the English sense of “nostalgia”, but in the sense it has in the Russian language: a state of unquenchable longing for one’s homeland. And since the homeland of the spirit lies far above this earth, “nostalghia” of the spirit for the Light is that inexplicable longing we feel when nothing on earth seems to satisfy us, nothing seems to come up to that ideal of harmony and beauty, which we carry deep inside us as a vague memory from our distant homeland. Far from being an imaginary place dreamt up by poets, it is a place as real as the earth – and it is precisely the reality of that memory, which the poets in all branches of the arts throughout all the ages have tried to convey to us. Tarkovsky himself stated that he was not satisfied with the screenplay for his film Nostalghia until he succeeded in expanding the more narrow concept of Russian “nostalghia” (the longing to return to Russia) into a more profound “global yearning for the wholeness of existence,” so that the film “came together at last into a kind of metaphysical whole.”