Video Sources 940 Views
what going on?
Andrei Rublev (Андрей Рублёв) is a 1969 film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky and is his second feature film. It is based on the life and times of 15th-century icon painter Andrei Rublev, one of Russia’s most celebrated artists. Because of this, Soviet authorities shelved the film for five years. Even though it was shown at Cannes in 1969, Andrei Rublev only had one viewing in the Soviet Union in Moscow in 1966 before a censored version was released in 1971. Even after that, arguments over the film’s perceived inadequacies and lack of patriotism continued for many years.
Background to the film
Critics of Andrei Rublev too often made the mistake of trying to understand the film as if it were purely part of the traditional historical and biographical genre. However, this sort of framework is too narrow for Tarkovsky’s multi-figured canvas. Only with time would more and more people begin to understand the true extent of this sublime work.
The idea to turn to the period of the Middle Ages and the central figure of the Russian Pre-Revival came to Tarkovsky partly because of the widespread interest in ancient Russian art that re-emerged during the mid-fifties. In 1960, the 600th anniversary of Andrei Rublev’s birth, celebrations were held and the Museum of Old Russian Culture officially opened in Moscow. Within a year, Tarkovsky had submitted an application to shoot a film about the great icon painter.
More than a historical film
Tarkovsky did not hide the fact that his goal was not to create a purely historical film. In his own words, he said:
«Биография Рублёва — сплошная загадка. Мы не хотим разгадывать тайну его судьбы. Мы хотим глазами поэта увидеть то прекрасное и трудное время, когда становился и креп, расправляя плечи, великий русский народ».
“Rublev’s biography is a complete mystery. We do not want to solve the mystery of his fate. Rather, we want to see that beautiful and difficult time through the eyes of the poet [Rublev], when the great Russian people were becoming stronger and squaring their shoulders.”
Thus, Tarkovsky gained two attractive opportunities from depicting Andrei Rublev. By focusing on the path of an individual artist, he could develop a metaphor for the path of the artist in general (particularly during difficult times). Also, thanks to the lack of factual material on Rublev’s life, Tarkovsky could take the plot wherever he wanted, instead of being stuck inside the boundaries of widely known biography.
The role of the artist
The path which Tarkovsky took the film centers around a number of key themes. In Tarkovsky’s words:
«художника и народа, художника и времени, где художник существует не сам по себе, а является совестью общества, острием его фантазии и выразителем таланта» .
“The artist and the people, the artist and time, where the artist does not exist by himself, but is the conscience of a society, the cutting edge of his imagination, and a spokesman for talent.”
The path of the artist cannot be separated from the fate of the Russian people in this movie. Rublev and the Russian people are divided and tormented by ideological and political strife (persecution of pagans, reprisals of the Grand Duke’s men, Mongol Tatar raids, conspiracy by the Prince against his own people, desecration of the church, mass murder in Vladimir). All in all, the Russian people are represented as martyrs. Rublev himself in an argument with his ideological opponent, Theophanes the Greek, likens the Russian peasant to Christ, humbly bearing his cross.
The artist, too, suffers. However, it is the suffering artist who can take the Russian people beyond the chaos the Middle Ages. The protagonist of the final episode, The Bell, is an impoverished, homeless teenager, Boriska. He leads the effort to build a bell, despite himself not knowing how it’s done. In the end, though, his ingenuity and artistry brings about a bell whose majestic ringing serves as a sign of popular unification and rebirth. So, from the chaos of the Middle Ages, the Russian nation and Russian identity was born.
Andrei Rublev plot
Andrei Rublev consists of eight episodes, as well as a prologue and epilogue. The episodes are as follows:
- The Jester (Summer 1400)
- Theophanes the Greek (Summer–Winter–Spring–Summer 1405–1406)
- The Passion (1406)
- The Holiday (1408)
- The Last Judgment (Summer 1408)
- The Raid (Autumn 1408)
- Silence (Winter 1412)
- The Bell (Spring–Summer–Winter–Spring 1423–1424)
Original title Андрей Рублёв
IMDb Rating 8.2 38,910 votes
TMDb Rating 8.3 272 votes