Andrei Tarkovski, GDR - USSR, 1979


This long take, a long, slow zoom, shows us three men sheltering in a ruin, visually transforms over its duration by two successive colour based events. The first is an arbitrary change, of which there are two instances, of the set’s colour, which is changed directly while the camera records, by lights shining on (to a effacer) the set walls. There’s no justification for this change in the universe of the film, this is the pure reflection of the filmmakers aesthetic choice, choosing to paint his set another colour. The second change, on the other hand, comes from a storm and the torrent of rain it unleashes onto the set.

The storm and how it affects the set are obviously man-made and carefully designed by the filmmaker, owing nothing to any real rain that could have fallen on that day of shooting. First we hear a rumble of thunder, which gives way to a downpour, in a solid curtain of water, totally transforming the lower half of the image, the still, stagnant pool, into a surface that becomes alive and bristling with light and an unexpected whiteness. The rain is the pictorial agent of change that completely modifies the aesthetic of the shot.


rain, image material.