Quick-Thoughts: Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Steamroller and the Violin (1961)

Andrei Tarkovsky Part I of III

I have seen Andrei Tarkovsky’s last five projects from his legendary yet compact filmography, but not his first five ones — 3 shorts and 2 feature-lengths. Considering this fella has been on my favorite director’s list for quite some time, I’ve become fed up with living in the guilt of not seeing this and the two famously praised movies of the auteur’s earlier career. So here we are.

Wow, even in 1961, before making any feature-lengths, Tarkovsky had an uncanny knack for A-1 compositions and silky camera movements. It doesn’t do any harm too that the color placement and pallet in this are just naturally gentle on the eyes, as well. Yet, the story of The Steamroller and the Violin is pretty “whatever”, finding itself in the catalog of your standard “the POWER of a bond between an older stranger and a younger stranger” arc. The connection that these two characters make just kind of comes out of nowhere too, and I get that this is a short, but c’mon, we all know you pulled this cute little plot straight out of your ass, Tarkovsky, just so that you could make something to show off your unique style of visual storytelling. Still, I can’t deny that it‘s conciliating to watch. 

Verdict: B-

A Philosophical Detour (Andrei Tarkovsky Ranked)

“The Steamroller and the Violin” is now available to stream on The Criterion Channel.

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