Andrei Rublev (film)
Learn more about Andrei Rublev (film)
|Image:1969 andrey rublev.jpg|
|Directed by||Andrei Tarkovsky|
|Produced by||Tamara Ogorodnikova|
|Written by|| Andrei Konchalovsky|
|Starring|| Anatoli Solonitsyn|
|Music by||Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov|
|Release date(s)||Image:Flag of the Soviet Union.svg 1971|
|Running time||205 Min Director's Cut|
|All Movie Guide profile|
Andrei Rublev (Russian Андрей Рублёв), also known as The Passion of Andrei, is a film made by Andrei Tarkovsky for Mosfilm in the Soviet Union in 1966. It is loosely based on the life of Andrei Rublev the great 15th century Russian icon painter. Andrei is played by Anatoly Solonitsyn; one of his ancestors was himself an icon-painter, and he was tremendously proud to pass the auditions, as he had limited acting experience.
The script was written by Tarkovsky and Andrei Konchalovsky. The film is for the most part in black and white, except for the last few minutes, which are in color, showing details of several of Rublev's icons.
No less than eight characters are artists who have different approaches to self-expression and creativity.
- Andrei Rublev – also the observer and “everyman” – humanistic, passionate, searches for the good in people, wants to inspire, not frighten. Interested in perceiving all aspects of existence.
- Daniil Chyorny – withdrawn, resigned, not as bent on creativity as self-realization/path to enlightenment. Eventually disappears.
- Kirill – Lacks talent, yet strives to achieve prominence. Jealous, self-righteous, very intelligent and perceptive.
- Feofan Grek – An established master, cynical, disillusioned, regards art as more of a craft/chore.
- Boriska – son of the bell-caster. He is aware of both his own importance and the difficult task at hand. Arrogant and persuasive yet humble and insecure. Is able to create through a combination of natural skill and pure faith.
- Serega – Andrei's apprentice. A practical-minded “commercial” artist with no internal dilemmas, but contemplative enough to get along with Andrei.
- The Baloonist – a daring escapist, literally and figuratively.
- The Jester – a bitterly sarcastic “enemy of the state”, who, along with his scathing/obscene social commentary/criticism is just earning a living.
 Historical accuracy
Andrei Rublev was not intended to be directly biographical; little is known about Andrei Rublev and several historical facts were changed for the movie. Andrei is rather an observer who looks on upon the events in the movie, especially evident in the sequences centered on the casting of the bell towards the end of the movie, where Andrei plays the role of observer and is not central to the scenes.
Details of everyday medieval life are conveyed mainly through naturalistic and lyrical images, not exposition. The film is well-researched not in terms of specific events but in terms of general lifestyle and customs.
Appropriately for a medieval setting, religion takes center stage, and references to the Bible abound, as it was the primary text known to the population. There is a complex outlook on Christianity and the Church - both positive and negative aspects are perceived by the characters and discussed.
The spoken language is natural, not artificial or “scripted” – it is crude and primitive. Although not ancient Russian, it is mostly authentic (some of the words, however, are anachronistic and have European roots: “interesno”, “forma”, “sekret”).
All foreign languages (Mongol, Italian) are spoken in the original. Tarkovsky’s love of the Renaissance and Italy gets a tongue-in-cheek reference with the presence of “Italian Ambassadors” in the climactic scene.
 Parallels with Communist Russia
The film is intended to reflect the "soul" of Russia and its people throughout time, not in one specific period.
The state is represented as oppressive of the artist whose ideas deviate from the prescribed norm, and regards art as a means to glorify the powers that be. Corruption and strife between power-hungry rulers is depicted: disregard for human lives, mass murder and slaughter as well as extreme cruelty of the government/police – purges, torture, executions, forced exile. Also, as in the Jester scene, the betrayal or selling out of the "subversive" elements of society is alluded to (writers or poets killed and/or humiliated into silence).
The bell-casters represent those who manage to produce great art revered by both the people and the state, even in the face of possible death; and the pagans possibly allude to the emerging counterculture movement.
 Cinematic techniques
Many varied shots, including overhead crane shots are used. Long, fluid takes are favored over quick cuts. Fantasy sequences (of two different characters) and flashbacks are also used. Sequences are extended to allow viewer reflection.
Much of the cinematography is directly influenced by Akira Kurosawa, including the importance of the weather, shots of water, and composition. Slow motion, which was still very rare in cinema (to be famously utilized by Peckinpah a few years later), is also borrowed from Kurosawa.
There are many allusions to medieval and early renaissance painting, especially Brueghel – landscapes with peasants, the Calvary procession, composition of the crowd scenes, depiction of atrocities, etc.
The music score consists of mostly low-key, choral vocalizing and gains presence only during the final color sequence.
 Alternate versions
Because of the movie's religious themes and political ambiguity, it was unreleased in the Soviet Union for years after it was completed. Initially, it was completed in 1966 in a 205 minute version, but was not "officially" released until 1971, with about 20 minutes of material cut. Because of this, there are several different versions, of varying lengths.
Some sources say that Tarkovsky, who was adamant about getting his films seen the way he wanted to, endorsed the cut of 20 minutes. This was the version that played in the USSR and Western Europe for many years. When it reached the U.S., it was cut by another 40 minutes, making it an incoherent mess in the eyes of many frustrated critics.
The Criterion Collection DVD is known as the director's cut. It is the original, 205 minute version. The editor, Lyudmila Feiginova, supposedly kept a print of this version under her bed. It is the longest cut available on DVD and is generally accepted as the director's cut, although some still dispute this. 
Tarkovsky included several scenes of extreme animal cruelty in this film. Among them is a scene in which a horse is thrown down a flight of stairs and stabbed to death. In production, the horse was first shot through the neck and then filmed as it fell down the stairs. The horse died.
In a 1967 interview for Literaturnoe obozrenie, interviewer Aleksandr Lipkov noted, "the cruelty in the film is shown precisely to shock and stun the viewers. And this may even repel them." Tarkovsky responded: "No, I don't agree. This does not hinder viewer perception. Moreover we did all this quite sensitively. I can name films that show much more cruel things, compared to which ours looks quite modest."
In the scene of the Tatar raid, there is a sequence of a cow set on fire. The cow actually had an asbestos-covered coat and was not harmed during the scene.
 See also
- Robert Bird (2004). Andrei Rublev. (London: BFI Publishing). ISBN 1-84457-038-X Review by Violetta Petrova
 External links
- Andrey Rublyov at the Internet Movie Database
- Andrei Tarkovsky on Andrei Rublev - compiled by Robert Bird.
- Interview with Tarkovsky on Andrei Rublev
- Andrei Rublev review at Decent Films
- Criterion Collection essay by J. Hoberman
- Review at Senses of Cinema
- Review at Deep Focus
- Andrei Rublev:Religious Epiphany in Art article by Nigel Savio D'Sa
- In-Depth Discussion from the defunct Criterion Collection Boards regarding differing versions of the DVD
- Analysis of DVD versions
|Works of Andrei Tarkovsky|
| Feature films: Ivan's Childhood • Andrei Rublev • Solaris • Mirror • Stalker • Nostalghia • Voyage in Time (with Tonino Guerra) • The Sacrifice|
Nanook of the North
|The Criterion Collection|