“Andrei Tarkovsky’s Images…”


Wu, Hsin Yi, and Wen-Shu Lai (corresponding author). 2018.
“Virtual Fields and Temporality in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Images.” The International Journal of
the Image 9 (1): 57-65. 

Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky uses virtual fields to progress the film narrative. Virtual fields
are not fantasies nor false illusions or arbitrary sequences but are associated with two types of
temporal significance. First, the dream-image as its virtual aspect is based on memories related
to an individual’s being and time as discussed by Gilles Deleuze’s theory of time. Second, the
sequences of the character’s contemplation and imaginative floating are significant to his faith-
centered films, such as “Stalker” (1979), “Nostalghia” (1983), and “The Sacrifice” (1986). The
experiences of contemplation produce the paradoxical quality of images, close to the essence of
“incarnation,” which is a sacred time for Russian Orthodox Christians. On the one hand, the
contemplative sequences imitate the event of the incarnate Christ; on the other hand, incarnation
and its ambivalence indicate that the body is a vehicle of meanings. Rather than isolating the
spaces, Tarkovsky skillfully manipulates the virtual and the actual fields to work reciprocally.
This study aims to show that the multiple virtual fields and the actuality are related to the
different concepts of time, from time of Being to the specific Orthodox Christian time, which
come across to the audience as the significance of life, being, religion, and faith.