A Thousand Words invites writers, poets, and novelists to Amherst Cinema, asking each guest to program a film accompanying a discussion around their use of the written word in relationship to the moving image. Discover how the selected film inspires them, and where it intersects with their practice.
For this innaugural screening, we are joined by poet Polina Barskova, Assistant Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature, University of California, Berkeley.
A senses-ravishing odyssey through the halls of time and memory, Andrei Tarkovsky’s sublime reflection on 20th-century Russian history is as much a film as it is a poem composed in images, as much a work of cinema as it is a hypnagogic hallucination.
In a richly textured collage of varying film stocks and newsreel footage, the recollections of a dying poet flash before our eyes, dreams mingling with scenes of childhood, wartime, and marriage, all imbued with the mystic power of a trance.
Largely dismissed by Soviet critics upon its release due to its elusive narrative structure, MIRROR has since taken its place as one of the titan director’s most renowned and influential works, a stunning personal statement from an artist transmitting his innermost thoughts and feelings directly from psyche to screen.
Presented in a restoration from Janus Films.
About Polina Barksova: Polina Barskova is an assistant professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. Before that, she spent 15 years teaching Russian Literatures at Hampshire College, Massachusetts, as well as at Amherst and Smith colleges.
Barskova's scholarly publications include articles on Nabokov, Bakhtin brothers, early Soviet film, and the aestheticization of historical trauma. Her book, “Besieged Leningrad: Aesthetic Responses to Urban Disaster.” was published in 2016. She has also authored many books of poetry in Russian.