The dream collector that was Andrei Tarkovsky

The final masterpiece of Andrei Tarkovsky was The Sacrifice. The film was shot in the summer of ’85 in Sweden where Tarkovsky was in exile at the time, and as it turned out it was his final testament. As each day went on, whilst filming was in progress, the onsite interpreter for Tarkovsky, Layla Alexander-Garrett, kept a diary, and this forms the basis for Andrei Tarkovsky; the Collector of Dreams, her award winning book.

In her book, the legendary director is portrayed as a real person, warts and all, and as someone who was, in turn, happy, tormented, inexhaustibly kind but also harsh at times, conscience-stricken, artistically unfulfilled and unrelenting.

“I have to say this 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 and film critic.

“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

Author and playwright Layla Alexander-Garrett was born in Uzbekistan. She studied Russian language and literature, Tibetan Buddhism and film studies at Stockholm University. Layla worked as an interpreter for such icons of film and dramatic art as Andrei Tarkovsky, on his last film The Sacrifice, and Yuri Lubimov, on his production of The Master and Margarita at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm.

Layla Alexander-Garrett is the author of a prize-winning memoir Andrei Tarkovsky: The Collector of Dreams and a photo album Andrei Tarkovsky: A Photographic Chronicle of the Making of The Sacrifice.

An active cultural figure, Layla Alexander-Garrett has organized numerous charity concerts and art festivals, including Andrei Tarkovsky and Sergei Paradjanov festivals in London. She has also curated a number of international photo exhibitions.

Andrei Tarkovsky: The Collector of Dreams will be released December 10, 2012 by Glagoslav Publications