Tarkovsky's Air Bud
by Calvin Westra, 3.24am Sept 10th 2021

In 1967 Andrei Tarkovsky dared to ask, what if a dog played sports?


A golden retriever as last hope for a dying empire. Victory so great it feels spiritual.


He worried about the KGB.


His wife Irina reminded him that dogs can’t dribble balls and that there were likely regulations prohibiting dogs from playing sports. She asked who would watch such a film and reminded him that it would be seen as sophomoric and timid next to Ivan’s Childhood (1962) and Andrei Rublev (1966).


“A movie is scenes,” Andrei Tarkovksy said. “Like how I am the nutrients and flesh that I am. And you are the nutrients and flesh that you are.”


Irina divorced him in 1970.


Andrei Tarkovsky ordered special nutritional supplements. He sat upon a rock in his yard in the afternoons, staring at the sky.


Where do ideas come from if not the cells of the body, the minerals and proteins and enzymes that slave for wages Andrei Tarkovsky did not expect to ever understand. My body is child soldiers, Andrei Tarkovsky thought.


At Cannes, in 1972, a reporter asked him about his secret dog-sports project.


“A dog who can play a thousand different sports is a thousand different dogs for a thousand different people,” Andrei Tarkovsky said and stepped back from the mic.


“What you’re saying,” the reporter said, “is this has franchise potential.”


“I am not sure, but I take a fantastic multivitamin,” Andrei Tarkovsky said.