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The great - who are poor in spirit? Where has poetry gone? Money, money, money and fear . Fellini is afraid, Antonioni is afraid the only one who is afraid of nothing is Bresson (D, 256) Feminist Camille Paglia would agreed with Tarkovsky in lamenting the decline in cinema since the New Wave days: *[o]n the whole, film has fallen off in artistic quality from the high point of European art film in the late fifties and sixties* -? Krysztof Kieslowski, a filmmaker with many affinities with Tarkovsky, said that all the great film personalities and films were in the past, were dead or retired (1993, 33) For some critics, cinema is dying if not dead How so?

The Rilkean Angel is spiritual, erotic, transcendent, difficult, opaque — all qualities which Tarkovsky's Andrei Tarkovsky 67 poetic cinema enshrines Kilke is one of a long line of mystical poets, who include Jalal al'Din Rumi, Nur al-Din 'Abd al-Rahman Jami, St John of the Cross, Thomas Traherne, William Blake and So John Perse. Rilke'sfiooA oj Hours poems, based on the mediaival Book oj Hours (the illuminated prayer book, often dedicated to the Virgin Mary), are the equivalents in written poesie of Taikovsky's cinematic poetry (for example, kI am, O Anxious One* from the Book oj Hours, or 'Evening* from the Book oj Pictures).

In Hollywood/ international (dominant) entertainment cinema, w i t h its stolid camerawork, incessant swelling music underlining every gesture, routine dialogue, by-numbers plots, rampant materialism, pro-militaristic ideology, and immovable (monoscopic) viewpoints, the viewer always knows exactly where t h e y are There is no room to manoeuvre, no ambiguity In Tarkovsky's cinema, one can move about, because his films are spacious Andrei Tarkovsky's images excite enormously: an angel under clear running water; a room full of rain; a glass bottle; a Leonardo da Vinci or Piero della Francesca painting; a house on fire (the whole house, not just the roof or a window, as in conventional films, but the whole structure) Andrei Tarkovsky These images can be seen as 5 0 rapturous and radiant An image from a Tarkovsky film is easily identified as a Tarkovsky image, although the production crew, the script, the setting, and the actors are different As an example of Taikovsky's stunning imagery, take the birds flying out of the Madonna's body at the beginning of Nostalghia, for example Many other filmmakers have excelled at slowly and carefully establishing a seemingly ordinary scene and having something bizarre happen in the middle of it to stun the viewer Tarkovsky achieves cinematic wonder without all the techno* logical wizardry mainstream cinema can muster And there are still many more and more surprises with every viewing of a Tarkovsky film.

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