Your interview, among a few others, stood out in the movie as being more personal, more “flesh and blood”...
Michal: “Maybe it’s because I treated him like a person of flesh and blood. He was funny, he was witty... We had a lot of beer too... He was a normal genius. I made a movie about him , just to build him a monument, as he did not have any. I perceived him as an extremely sensitive, very wise human being. Unfortunately born in Russia... In Soviet Russia... It’s like a war, his life was like a war. He made only five movies in Russia... Three of them, he had to beg for, at the highest possible level, the central committee of the communist party. So he made only two movies by normal standards. Three were like exceptions. And after ’The mirror,’ he was considered lost in his country. He showed me an article from some cinema magazine in Russia, where there was some open letter: How to help Tarkovsky, because he lost his way, and he is artistically lost, so we, as filmmakers, have to help him!”
Where did his deep relationship to Christianity and his understanding of God and redemption come from, and did he think of himself as a religious filmmaker?
Dmitry: “Definitely, a reflection of his spiritual world is found in his father’s poetry. There was a certain culture where, I think, religion was interwoven into their community, so I am certain that he was religious, and Christian, but I am not sure whether he would say he was a ’religious filmmaker.’ There doesn’t seem to be any dogmatic content in his films.”
Michal:“I would say exactly the same, that the longing for a father, this driving force of very many artists, father or mother –and it applies for all of us—was what moved Tarkovsky. His father was a poet, and he then became a poet of the cinema, which was not intentional from the beginning. He tried to make different things. And he was a deeply spiritual person, open for existence in that spiritual level, but not that religious in the meaning of going to churches and services... But very much writing and reading and talking about God, yes... in Christian tradition.”
One of the quotations that was clearly printed on screen is: “I want to be remembered as a sinner.” So obviously he had some spiritual thoughts in his head.
Michal: “Yes, but he was a very humble person, he would see himself as somebody who is as a lot of folks, a normal human being. He never put himself on a monument.”
During your interview in the documentary you say that Tarkovsky was “a servant to the work of art.” I would like to hear more about it... In what way was he a servant?
Michal: “I have been editing films for forty years, and I sat with many directors in the editing room, but only one of them, and that was Tarkovsky... we were sitting, working, and he said, suddenly he said: "you know, I feel that small [he lifts his right hand and shows the tiny space between his index finger and thumb] when I look at the pictures...” So he was very humble. And that is one of the most important things I learned from him. I was young, I was kind of 20 years younger, so of course I treated him as a master of the universe... [laughs] He is in my mind forever. And I really tried to live like that, according to that since then. I teach editing, among other things, and I try to teach it, and it’s very difficult in today’s world, to explain to someone that the ego is not the main point in life. Tarkovsky is really the one who who made me see it, really, he was really as a servant, you know...”
 Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, Michal Leszcsylowski (1988)