The Sacrifice is Andrei Tarkovsky’s final masterpiece. The film was shot in Sweden, in summer 1985 while Tarkovsky was in exile; it turned out to be his final testament, urging each individual to take personal responsibility for everything that happens in the world.
Day after day, while the film was being made, Layla Alexander-Garrett – Tarkovsky’s on-site interpreter - kept a diary which forms the basis of her book Andrei Tarkovsky: The Collector Of Dreams.
In this book the great director is portrayed as a real, living person: tormented, happy, inexhaustibly kind but at times harsh, unrelenting, conscience-stricken and artistically unfulfilled. “Don’t ever be afraid of the pronoun I,” Andrei exhorted, “Write only what it is that you feel.”
Prize of the Guild of Russian Film Critics 2010 "Elephant"
Translated by Maria Amadei Ashot.
For more information about this publication please consult the following website dedicated exclusively to Andrei Tarkovsky: The Collector of Dreams.
"I picked up and finished Andrei Tarkovsky: The Collector of Dreams. I have to say, it is an absolutely wonderful book! Certainly one of the best books I've read about the making of a film. And surely high on the list of the best books ever about Tarkovsky...."MARK LE FANU, author, film critic.
“Demystifying the man and his auvre, Layla Alexander-Garrett brings to life the artist and the man, who left an indelible imprint on her. In a collage of poetic snippets and jump cuts, reminiscences and reflections, refracted through “dreams”, reality and dreams intermingling in a mosaic of repetitions and digressions within digressions – time within time – she gives us the man and the cinema genius aware of his own worth.” EAST-WEST BOOK REVIEW
"This book contains priceless material for film lovers, experts and critics. The image of Andrei recreated in this book refutes the idea of him being a gloomy person, a misanthrope, which has been thrust upon us by certain writers. Here we see Tarkovsky being kind, attentive and caring towards the people he likes. The Sacrifice – a testamentary film which, in my view, was underrated in Russia – will henceforth be viewed more carefully and understood more deeply."Marina Tarkovskaya, sister of the director and author
"An absolutely unique testament. These memories are astonishing! They are surely among the best literary memoirs of Tarkovsky that we possess. They really make him come alive. Everything is so vivid, subtle, unvarnished and unadorned. When I finished reading this book I felt sorry it had come to an end." Yuri Norstein, director-animator
“I was reading this book on a plane and I was stunned! In spite of the fact that I am a very faithful and fond viewer and admirer of Tarkovsky, the things I heard were sinking into my head and the vulgar legend about the person whom I once knew began to form in my mind too. But when I read Layla's book, suddenly, my mind was cleared up. For some moments, then minutes, then for entire bits of life, I came to realize what was actually happening in reality, something that I didn't know and Layla did. For, who else could know him better than his interpreter who worked on his last film, during the last years of his life.”Sergei Solovyev, famous director and friend of Tarkovsky
“The uniqueness of Andrei Tarkovsky: the Collector of Dreams is that the book unusually combines the features of both contemporary film criticism and cinema-oriented literature: the accuracy of a biographical description, the sharp observation of a critic and the depth of a philosophical analysis.”
Dmitryi Salynskyi, film critic, journalist, scriptwriter
“Layla is a brilliant talent in her own right. Apart from the rare opportunity to witness Tarkovsky's life, God gave her the opportunity to be a chronicler of the creation of his last film. Her ability to see and feel the complicated and the unique, and to write about it in such an incredible way, is to her honour.”Aleksandr Gordon, film director, friend of Tarkovsky
“Who else other than Layla, who was his confidant for the last years of his life, can tell us about the real experiences of the director and shed light on some sides of his personal life? And in the case of Tarkovsky, personal has a direct relationship to art. Generally speaking, the book is written with such warmth and love that even certain delicate topics are described with a maximum correctness, simplicity and sincerity.”Yuliya Anokhina, lexicographer, linguist, expert in the works of Tarkovsky
“A wonderfully thrilling range of documentary facts. But it’s not just about that. At last, the reader faces a genuine laboratory of art which almost nobody has ever managed to convey, and at the same time, the personality of the author comes through, which is of no less interest. Only the diaries of Tarkovsky himself have I read with such interest.”Levon Grigoryan, film director, author of books and documentaries about Paradjanov
“I am deeply impressed by the book and by the fact that Andrei is described so vividly, exactly the same as I remember him. It’s a rare case when diary notes give you an impression of an almost round-the-clock creative process. And at the same time it is a work of art – the last year of Andrei’s life emerges so clearly and vividly.”Nataliya Bragina-Kochevrina, artist, writer, Tarkovsky’s friend
“After reading Layla’s pages which are beautifully and inspiringly written, there comes another profound feeling, inspired by Layla’s experience, a feeling of being included in an atmosphere of artistic endeavour, which is and will always be significant.” Yuriy Mechitov, photographer, writer“This is a marvellous book, whose sheer literary excellence remains intact in translation. It reads so easily and fluently, and yet every word and every phrase is so RIGHT, and the impressions of places and incidents and people so incredibly vivid and revealing. Having brilliantly filled the diplomatically challenging role of Tarkovsky's interpreter during the making of THE SACRIFICE in Sweden, Layla Alexander–Garrett's impressions of places and people and incidents manage to be at the same time very personal and intimate, yet shrewdly detached. An avowed "declaration of love and eternal gratitude", it is perhaps the closest we will ever come to understanding Tarkovsky's complex and elusive creative personality. The book is, sincerely, GREAT.” David Robinson, author, film critic, film historian“I deeply appreciate your hard work for which I am forever greatful to you and will not cease to admire your commitment to the cause”Andrey Zvyagintsev, film director “The book moved me with its unique rhythm, its collage-like style and the scale of what took place in it; it enchanted me with its details, sincerity and optimism. It became my reference book, like some kind of a diary of inspiration. My last series of photo collages ‘For Light and Memory’ is inspired by it.”Sergei Sviatchenko, the artist“Layla Alexander-Garrett’s memoir about the famous director is a chronicle of intriguing humanity and poetic imagery.”RUSSIA BEYOUND THE HEADLINESOther publications:
The Collector of Dreams/DI-VE magazine
The Dream Collector That Was Andrei Tarkovsky/ ARTS-INFO
Layla Alexander-Garrett has worked as an interpreter for some great icons of film and theatre, most notably with Andrei Tarkovsky on his last film The Sacrifice (1986, Sweden). She is the author of a prize-winning memoir, Andrei Tarkovsky: The Collector of Dreams, as well as a photo album, Andrei Tarkovsky: A Photographic Chronicle of the Making of The Sacrifice. A documentary film based on the book was named the best national project 2011 and received the highest award at the national competition Service To The Fatherland: Events and Names.
Born in Uzbekistan, Alexander-Garrett has studied Russian language and literature, Tibetan language and Tibetan Buddhism, and graduated in Film Studies from Stockholm University. She has written, directed and produced a short film, The Yawning Man, and is also the author of the plays Gaspard de la nuit, The Hanged Man, Not Losing a Son and English Breakfast.
An active cultural figure, Alexander-Garrett organises numerous charity concerts and art festivals, including Andrei Tarkovsky and Sergei Paradjanov festivals in London. She has also curated photo exhibitions shown in many cities of the world. She currently lives in England.
To book Layla Alexander-Garrett for speaking engagements, please visit Glagoslav Speakers.