The Criterion Collection
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The 15th-century Russian icon painter renounces his art after taking part in a peasant uprising. Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky.
At last, the complete version of Andrei Tarkovski's 1966 masterpiece about the great 15th century Russian icon painter (a film suppressed by the Soviet Union and unseen until 1971) is available. It's a complex and demanding narrative about the responsibility of the artist to participate in history rather than documenting it from a safe distance. A landmark in Russian cinema, Andrei Rublev is a beautifully lyrical black-and-white film about harmony and soulful expression. As the late filmmaker says in a supplementary interview, each generation must experience life for itself; it cannot simply absorb what has preceded it. In fact, a whole host of supplements accompanies the film in this Criterion Collection release. Stick with it; it's worth the effort. --Bill Desowitz
- The definitive 205-minute director's cut with exclusive widescreen digital transfer
- Completely retranslated subtitles that restore 40% of the dialogue
- Rare film interviews with Tarkovsky, with a general essay on Tarkovsky's work by Professor Petric
- Audio essays by Harvard film professor Vlada Petric over select scenes
- A timeline featuring key events in Russian history, plus the lives and works of Andrei Rublev and Andrei Tarkovsky
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"my god, mayechka, it is only a movie!"
she explicitly stated that no animals were harmed in the filming process, and that the burning cow sequence was achieved through special effects and asbestos. the cow scene never made the 183-minute cut because tarkovsky felt it looked unrealistic.
acceptance of this disclaimer is your prerogative, but disclaimers are all most of us ever really have. o, and the film?
it doesn't sound great and the stock doesn't seem to have aged well, but tarkovsky's intensely poetic vision and vyacheslav ovchinnikov's unforgettable score cannot be denied. like literary counterparts dostoevsky and tolstoy, tarkovsky has a sweeping, epic vision that can seem daunting at times (203 minutes is pretty long). while some may find it interminably and excruciatingly slow, i like to think that tarkovsky has enough respect for the audience to take his time and allow the viewer to settle into the experience. it's not just a great visual and audio document or merely a powerful story - 'andrei rublev' is a gestalt experience, requiring and rewarding total immersion on your part. watch it alone or with someone who's comfortable enough with you to shut up for a few hours. you'll be glad you did.
categorized as members of the "Moscow School", distinguished
from prior schools within the Byzantine tradition by its humanism
Though few details are known about the historical Rublev, the film accurately portrays his environment: internecine warfare among princes, Tartar invasions, suffering peasants and a corrupt
Orthodox church. The tension between this turbulent environment
and Rublev's optimistic nature spurs the protagonist along a path of spiritual evolution, during the course of which he deliberates
on humanity, evil, and the role of the artist.
Rublev begins as an outsider: he does not take part of the common people's suffering and joy, or, at least, he does not get involved in "the world". Nonetheless, he is sympathetic to them, as evidenced in his conversation with Theophanes in the episode,"The Passion According to Andrei". Theophanes views mankind pessimistically and is more concerned with the "Last Judgement" than with worldly affairs. Rublev's opinion of people, especially the peasants, seems relatively optimistic and concerned with their plight. This
is an important moment in the movie, setting the stage for
Rublev's spiritual tribulations: Is man good or evil? Should we
resist evil? How is one to act in the world?
In later episodes, Rublev does participate in the world: carnal pleasure, violence, hope and disillusionment. Having killed a man himself, he takes a vow of silence and stops painting. He appears weary of the world. However, he gains hope once more when he sees a young
man, Boriska, cast a bell for a village. Despite all of the horror and wickedness, the villagers have seen, this work of art brings them happiness. In the end, Rublev seems to conclude that
the act of creation can bring us moments of joy (and this rejoins the opening prologue where we see a peasant joyously flying a balloon) and it is the role of the artist to lift men out of their turmoil. This revelation inspires Rublev to speak to Boriska, telling him to look at the happiness he has brought. He then invites the bell maker to go to the Trinity Monastery with him where they will paint and make bells.
The film to this point has been shot in a dismal black and white.
However, the final scene, intended to underscore Rublev's revelation is a long sumptous color shot of the full image of Rublev's famous painting, "The Three Angels of the Old Testament".