Tarkovsky’s ‘Nostalghia’ arrives on Blu-Ray

Tarkovsky Nostalghia

In spite of questions regarding the quality of its transfer, I suppose it’s always a good thing to have more Andrei Tarkovsky with Kino Classics’ release this week of a Blu-Ray and DVD copy of “Nostalghia.”

“Nostalghia” was Tarkovsky’s penultimate motion picture, and though it has since 1983 suffered  abuse from critics claiming it was the director’s surrender to self-parody, the movie homes toward an aesthetic of longing that grounds the picture and informs everything from its casting choices to locations and themes. I don’t think Tarkovsky’s sincerity, what Tolstoy said defined “art,” in making “Nostalghia” could be doubted.  At the New York Times, J. Hoberman writes:

Russia was his subject. Self-exiled to the West in 1982, Tarkovsky was a man without a country. Hence, “Nostalghia.” He always insisted on the untranslated title, a term for a distinct Russian melancholy — or even illness — that, he explained, “can only be contracted in a foreign country.”

According to the Kino Classics press release, the new disc’s special features menu allows you to . . . change subtitle languages? The studio’s oversight in adding supplements to such a well-known motion picture is puzzling, especially given the wealth of Tarkovsky resources available these days.

This new release, by Kino Classics (of Kino Lorber, Inc.), doesn’t seem like it’s much different than the “Nostalghia” DVD released in late 1998.   In 1998, Fox Lorber released “Nostalghia,” the “digitally remastered” version, on DVD. Then in 2009, Fox Lorber and Kino merged, forming Kino Lorber, Inc.

Who knows whether what Kino Classics is calling an “HD transfer of archival 35mm film elements” is the same, or at least, similar to the high definition transfer we saw in 2012’s “Lawrence of Arabia,” the 4K Digital Cinema Package (the results of the “Lawrence” transfer were astounding on the big screen)?

For “Lawrence of Arabia,” they made the high definition transfer from the 65mm film negative.  Was this new “Nostalghia” copy as carefully transferred, or is it little more than the 1998 copy?

Order it for me as a gift and I’ll let you know.

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