Andrei Tarkovsky is as divisive a filmmaker as one might possibly dream up. When, back in 2011, one journalist used Tarkovsky as the crux of a piece about how certain films and directors are thought of as essential viewing whether or not their work is consistently compelling to all viewers, a verbal battle was started in the film-critical community that lasted for quite some time. And yet, watching the clips collected in this video essay from Good Alternative, even if one didn’t find Tarkovsky’s work, from Solaris to Stalker to Andrei Rublev, to be compelling–and no one says you have to, really–the evocativeness of the fire imagery present is, at the very least, interesting. In Tarkovsky’s films, fire moves, fire breathes, fire interacts with characters on screen as if it were one of them. As portrayed through Tarkovsky’s lens, fire becomes a source of change and motion in an otherwise still plane. What the fire means is less important than the fact that it is present–which, in this director’s hands, is quite enough.
Watch: Andrei Tarkovsky and Fire: A Video Homage