Long Take: Messianic Time in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia

  • Author(s): Gerald Loughlin
  • When: 2011-03
  • Where: The Messianic Now: Philosophy, Religion, Culture
  • This article invokes Giorgio Agamben's discussion of messianic time in his 2005 book The Time That Remains in order to explore Andrei Tarkovsky's late film, Nostalghia (1983). Agamben is wandering in a foreign land, as also Tarkovsky; Agamben in Christian theology and Tarkovsky in Italy. In St Paul Agamben finds an event without precedent and the arrival of a time that is time beside itself, an excess of temporality that opens possibility. Tarkovsky similarly defeats mere succession by realizing a screen time that makes time itself present in the duration of the film's long takes. In waiting on the film we wait on that which arrives in our waiting. The film is a kind of prayer, a patience and yearning for the time in which the "time of the end" arrives, transfiguring the present.

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