Nostalghia is a foreign film written in Italian by a Russian director. I had a hard time deciding what was actually going on in the film, between reading the subtitles fast enough to understanding the plot of the film. This is not a dialogue based film, it relies greatly on other background sounds in the film and lack of sound. In fact to me, I felt that the actors were constantly “breaking the fourth wall” while talking. You couldn’t always see they were talking to someone because they were the only one in the shot and sometimes I thought they may actually be talking to themselves while looking at the camera. That made the editing for me seem really disjointed. I understood that Andrei was from Russia and was visiting Italy to research a Russian composer who lived in Italy for a while. I didn’t understand why it was so intriguing to the other characters to know he was from Russia doing research.
The lighting in the film changed from feeling stark black and white to having some color come through in certain scenes, like when Eugenia is in the hall and Andrei tells her she is beautiful, you can really tell that she has red hair. There were plenty of instances where the camera would be a medium close up and then it would pull focus and move farther away helping you to see just how far away someone was or making it seem they were really lost in thought. When Andrei is talking to Domenico the scene changes multiple times making you wonder if you are still in him dilapidated home or outside. The images were not always clear when you would move to a different scene and it would take a deliberate amount of time to come into focus and really let you know what you were looking at.
The sounds and music in the film were not comforting to me in any way. They seemed harsh and at some times I thought it sounded like a circular saw going off in the background which was grating on my nerves. It was hard for me to follow and completely know when the characters were reminiscing about their lives and what was currently happening. The film seemed to jump back and forth from the past to the present. I think Andrei was homesick for his wife and children, but wasn’t very proactive in getting back home soon. I want to know where the dog fits in. The dog seemed to be in past and present scenes and in both Domenico’s and Andre’s dreams. I don’t know what his specific importance was though.
In the final scenes where Domenico was preaching and shouting the ramblings of a madman, most of the other people in the scene were stationary and I felt that they were statues. It was as if he was invisible to them, but it also felt like time was standing still for everyone else. It was a very dramatic ending with him pouring fuel on himself and lighting himself on fire. The one man on the ground that mimicked his actions made me wonder if he was part of Domenicos imaginings of what he was to do next. Why do we not see what exactly happens to Andrei as he finally makes it across the bath with the lighted candle? We just hear a thud making me assume that he dies too, not returning home to his family. Then you end the film with Andrei sitting on the ground with his home in Russia behind him as the focus is pulled through again and makes it look farther away and his home is left in between the streets of Italy.