Santa Caterina Pool, Bagno Vignoni, Italy - April 2008
An image is not a certain meaning … but the entire world reflected as in a drop of water.’
- Andrei Tarkovsky
‘Alba Lunedì’ stages a performative re-enactment of the penultimate scene of Andrei Tarkovsky's film Nostalghia (1983). In conversation with the actor Oleg Yankovsky, who portrayed the poet Gorchakov in the film, Tarkovsky described his intention that this scene display an “entire human life in one shot, without any editing, from beginning to end, from birth to the very moment of death.” In case of success, he told Yankovsky, “the act may be the true meaning of my life. It certainly will be the finest shot I have ever made – if you do it, if you endure to the end.” Yankovsky endured, so Tarkovsky succeeded in filming one of the most celebrated shots in the history of cinema: a single extended take and tracking shot that follows Gorchakov as he carries a lit candle across the drained expanse of the Santa Catarina Pool in Bagno Vignoni, Italy; a ritualistic act, after which, his heart failing, the poet falls. The pool, a natural thermal spring in the Tuscan hillside village of Bagno Vignoni, is emptied for this shot, but still steaming, thus infusing the film image with a vaporous atmosphere through which through which one observes, over a period of nine minutes and four seconds, the pool and the protagonist, while contemplating the symbolic meaning of this journey with the candle. Performing ‘Alba Lunedì' at dawn at this same location, we film the act of carrying the candle from close range using a hand-held 8mm camera as well as from a fixed position across the pool using HD video. Footage from ‘Alba Lunedì' was used in the final cut of the video work Gorchakov's Wish.
See index below for other works relating to 'Alba Lunedì’ including:
- Gorchakov's Wish
- Fall (An Allegory)
- Kino Haiku
- To Forget. Of Air.
- Immolation Triptych
Please see also our Publications page for information on ‘Time, Place and Empathy: The Poetics and Phenomenology of Andrei Tarkovsky's Film Image’ (Visual Studies, Volume 28:1; p. 1-16). Informed by this constellation of works, this essay draws together our research into Tarkovsky’s theory and practice of the film image.