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Andrei Rublev- A masterpiece from Andrei Tarkovsky


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This was definitely not what I was expecting at all, but it was well worth the effort it took to watch... And believe me it did take effort.

 

As is to be expected in Tarkovsky's works, Andrei Rublev is no walk in the park. The cinematography by the ever brilliant Vadim Yusov truly struck me as beautiful and artistic. Showing off very radical camera tricks and movements. All with the goal of telling most of the story with images instead of dialog. As it has in all of Tarkovsky's films.

 

You can tell that Tarkovsky is a director that not only directs his actors but has his hands in just about every aspect of the production process. As Ive seen many artists come and go throughout the making of Tarkovsky's films, it is amazing how similar they all are, in the way look, sound and feel.

 

Ingmar Bergman once said that films were never meant to have music, because film was music in its own right. The need to add music to music was confusing to him. I see the same trait in most of Tarkovsky's films. That's probably why Bergman also once said that he thought Tarkovsky was the greatest director of all time.

 

I particularly liked the bell casting segment toward the end of Andrei Rublev. Young Kolya Burlyayev impresses as usual, giving a very powerful and emotional performance as the young boy designing and casting the monstrous bell. Andrei's break of his vow of silence and the comfort that he gives the boy really affected me.The wonder of how a boy could cry and show so much saddness when he had brought so much happiness to so many lives, was very touching. Handled with the upmost reserve and taste.

 

It is however, about Andrei Rublev and his experiences in the 15th century, and his ability to express the spirit and beauty of his art to a civilization wrapped up in the chaos of history, to a God that was still a mystery to most of the world and the struggle to live at the brutal hands of their church leaders and government. Andrei's journey comes in contact with many likeable and dislikeable characters.

 

The brutality in the film is shocking to say the least. The harshest act being against a caravan of painters who have been condemned by the Czar. They are run down and their eyes cut out to prevent them for creating seditious art. Art that was considered radical and damaging to the state and church. They crawl around with blood pouring out of their eye lids for hours. A new life of hell to be experienced by men whos greatest joy in life was to paint and admire the work of other painters.

 

This is just the tip of the ice berg. This film is filled with so many beautiful scenes of hatred and violance, and yet it shows the other side of the spectrum. Moments of innocense. Of people trying to live and find happiness in all things. People believing in high ideas and doing their best to carry them out. As i've said Andrei Rublev is a beautiful film, grand in scale and packed with great and unusual characters. However, in my opinion, its not as good as Ivans Childhood, Steamroller and the Violin or The Sacrifice, also from Tarkovsky, but it is important none the less. A great film. One of the true milestones in Russian and non-American cinema.

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A very good description for a very complicated film that would be hard for me to write about but you did a great job doing so. I had to watch the commentary first before I did the movie which helped me immensely in being able to appreciate every thing that went into its making. Being a fan of Russian History I like you got this DVD not knowing what to expect but I ended up feeling that this film depicts much of the turmoil during a specific period in Russia better than any I have seen to date.

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RobertH

 

Hi and thanks for the recommend. There are still a few of Tarkovsky's works that have slipped through the cracks and Solaris is one of them. I also haven't seen The Mirror yet and have heard a lot of praise about that one as well.

 

~~Mike~~

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allieharding-

 

Thanks for the comment. Have you seen The Steamroller and The Violin? It's a brilliant film from Tarkovsky. Not so much historical as it is a very solid glimps as to how children are brought up in Soviet- era Russia. It has a very good and universal feel about it. Especailly about the struggle of kids in general. Much more feel good then Tarkovsky is remembered for, but just as striking.

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I saw "Andrei Rublev" not quite 20 years ago. I remember that it took me a long time to get into the film. It was shown with an intermission, and I didn't start appreciating the film until after the intermission. The final part of the film, about the casting of a great bell, is unforgettable.

 

For me, "Ivan's Childhood," which is sometimes called "My Name is Ivan," is the Tarkovsky film that works best. "Solaris" left me cold. "Ivan's Childhood" was poetic yet had a plot and characters that I could hold on to.

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I do agree. Rublev is rather a rough film to sit through but, it has grown on me with each viewing and I've grown to really love it. However, I agree fully about Ivan's Childhood. I have been watching that film regularly since I was an early teen and it has never lost its power an beauty. From Nikolai Burlyayev's acting to Vadim Yusov's usual perfection as the cinematographer, Ivan's Childhood is a truely brilliant statement about WWII, about children and about the Soviet experience in that time period. It's also directed with great care a reserve and holds a great dream like feel through out most of the picture. Something that was typical and always amazing by director's like Tarkovsky, Bergman and Fellini. Something, saddly, that we don't see anymore on the same level as film going saw during that time period.

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Hi allieharding,

 

Another film came to mind that really gives good insight to Russian/ Soviet history. Have you seen Come and See from Elem Klimov? Similar in subject matter to Ivan's Childhood but more in feel to Andrei Rublev. I think its one of the great films of the 80's.

 

~~Mike~~

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"Ingmar Bergman once said that films were never meant to have music, because film was music in its own right. The need to add music to music was confusing to him."

 

That must have made The Magic Flute quite challenging for him! ;)

 

Thanks for your post, Mr. X. I've long been curious about Tarkovsky's works, and look forward to eventually seeing them.

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Ingmar Bergman's career has spanned over sixty years (and still counting!). Artist's work develops and changes course over time. His beautiful, poetic movies of the 1950's have a spare quality to them that reflects his quote about music. But I think music became more and more important to him as he explored movies like the opera The Magic Flute and Autumn Sonata about a mother and daughter whose lives were separated by a metaphorical wall of music for many years.

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