This article analyzes the Russian cultural and religious phenomenon of holy foolishness (iurodstvo) in director Andrei Tarkovsky’s last two films, Nostalghia and Sacrifice. While traits of the holy fool appear in various characters throughout the director’s oeuvre, a marked change occurs in the films made outside the Soviet Union. Coincident with the films’ increasing disregard for spatiotemporal consistency and sharper eschatological focus, the character of the fool now appears to veer off into genuine insanity, albeit with a seemingly greater sensitivity to a visionary or virtual world of the spirit and explicit messianic task.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.