40 of 1001 Movies: Andrei Rublev (1966)

Andrey Tarkoskiy directs this epic movie on the life of 15th century Russian icon painter, Andrei Rublev, after he leaves a monastery, and seeks inspiration for his art. This movie was famously banned in Russia for twenty years because of the Christian messages throughout the film, and being an atheist nation this wasn’t something they wanted to openly be shown. Oddly, it wasn’t for the large amount of nudity featured.

It’s said that though this film is based on Rublev that it only loosely showcases his life in a realistic way. It’s divided into several parts that show several hardships of living in 15th century Russia.  It seems more so the focus was not to give a historical presentation of Rublev, but to instead show what it was like in Russia during that time. So don’t use this as an art lesson to learn about Rublev. We go through several stages though beginning with Rublev reflecting on his religion, and leaving for a while to wander until he stumbles upon a pagan camp. It just so happens they are performing some sort of ritual just as he arrives. After leaving there he goes to a church to try to help decorate a mural where he also meets a lady interest, Durocha. After raids, and other hardships we see Andrei survive through we end with the making of a bell in the hopes of pleasing the Grand Prince who has provided the citizens with many brutalities under his rule.

I think I’ve stated before, but long movies and me have a rough past. This is a 3 hour film that is deeply rooted in some theological and philosophical thinking in art. While I can appreciate the value of what his movie offers I just could not find myself flowing with it. The actors of course all really bring it, but I think I somehow felt disconnected from the film.

I admire the fact that the director wanted to make mention of how some of the people in the movie seemed disconnected from wanting to believe. It was like people were choosing to be ignorant, but I felt lost a lot of the time. I was constantly asking myself what was happening. Perhaps, it was just the language barrier that sometimes does that?

The thing to be respected about Andrei Rublev is that a lot of fight had to be put up for this film to get it shown. It also really tries to get at the root of something deeper, which is rare. Personally, I would say this is a film that many will enjoy, but for me I had to force my way through it. It explores historical ideas that good to be viewed though. Knowing that Rublev’s life was probably different while watching also instead got me curious about why they didn’t actually stick to portraying more so who he was.

Rating 2 of 5.

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