Andrei Rublev (1966)

Andrei Rublev (1966) movie poster

director Andrei Tarkovsky
viewed: 01/29/2014

It took me a long time to getting around to seeing any Andrei Tarkovsky films, despite his notability.  Even after watching his film Solaris (1972) which I did almost a decade ago, it took almost that length of time for me to get around to another.  But after watching Stalker (1979), I was sold.  Stalker was one of the best films I saw last year and it’s only continued to linger in my mind.  So, I thought it was high time to get around to more of Tarkovsky’s films.

Netflix has long suggested Andrei Rublev to me, but let’s face it, a 3 1/2 hour film about the life of Russia’s greatest icon painter?  A general description of the story certainly doesn’t do justice to what a fine movie it really is.  It’s a complex film, a film about art and the artist, Russia and religion, mostly set in the 1500’s.

I can’t fully do the film justice here myself.  The black and white cinematography is amazing.  Tarkovsky has a keen eye for the natural world, certainly true in all three of his films that I’ve seen.  It’s a muddy, rainy, brutal world for Andrei Rublev, one in which the artist exists as perhaps the most holy calling, though one also deeply imbued with ego and self-conflict.  The artist is also significantly at the whims of his employers or patrons, a visionary who can float above the Earth only to crash and die.

When I sat down to watch Andrei Rublev it was late and I figured I would watch it in chunks over a couple of evenings.  But I found myself so engrossed that I watched it through its full duration deep into the night.

It’s a film that is indeed quite amazing.  It’s one on many best films of all times lists out there with good reason.  Even now, several days after having watched it, I am still thinking through it, reflectively, without a fully completed sensibility.  It’s still a 3 1/2 hour film about an icon painter.  Which is why I imagine it’s never going to be the most watched film of all.  But Tarkovsky is a master of cinema.   I will need to see more of his films.

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