Andrei Rublev is an autobiographical film from Andrei Tarkovsky, it tells the story of the famous 15th century Russian icon painter. I watched this movie because it is often on the list of top ten movie of all time and even the Vatican has it on their list of great films to celebrate the centennial of film back in 1995. Tarkovsky main goal was to make a realistic portrayal of medieval Russia as well as making Andrei a world-historic figure and places Christianity as an axiom of Russia’s historical identity. This is surprising to see from Communist Russia. Spoiler to follow.
Andrei Rublev tells a story loosely based on the life of the famed monk. The film is a collection of eight vignettes with a prologue and epilogue which seem unconnected to the narrative of the film. The film begins with a hot air balloon flight for some reason. The story actually begins after we see the first title card The Jester where we meet three monks Andrei, Daniil, and Kirill who are traveling looking for work as artists. It starts to rain and they take shelter. We learn that Kirill is jealous of the talent that Andrei has since Kirill isn’t that talented as an artist compared to Andrei. The film is an interesting look at Russia, the middle ages are a time period that we don’t see many movies that aren’t about knights. Here we have the Tartar conflict being depicted. The film is in black and white and doesn’t show any art until the epilogue which is in color. This make a nice reflection on the whole concept of art and what it is. The whole film we hear characters talk about it but it isn’t until the end where we see it.
If you are interested in checking out a good art film this is for you. Sure it’s in Russian and is pretty long but we are offered a unique spiritual experience by watching this film and we learn a bit about Andrei Rublev and 15th century Russia. It is a different film, and wasn’t what I expected it to be.