A strange and most challenging film, Andrei Rublev is a dreamy, sooty, black-and-white chronicle set against early 15th century Russian history. Tarkovsky is fascinated with images of nature, animals, natural processes, and he allows them to add another layer of meaning to the human strife playing out in the foreground. I’m not sure what Rublev is completely about but the trick is to ride along with it, as it soon becomes a beautiful and wondrous sort of cinematic experience, played out against the rhythms of galloping horses or the falling rain, and the veil-like shrouds of rain and snow. Tarkovsky’s parable concerns the titular monk-painter struggling with reconciling his relationship with the church and his own personal morality, with the purpose of art in the midst of so much injustice and turmoil. Intimate and grittily shot, this isn’t so much a biopic (Rublev sometimes isn’t even directly involved in much of the action, rather just an observer swept up in the tide of historical events), so much as a philosophical tract as pondered by its director over its long but always hypnotic telling.
Directed by: Andrei Tarkovsky
Written by: Andrei Konchalovsky, Andrei Tarkovsky
Cast: Anatoli Solonitsyn, Ivan Lapikov, Nikolai Grinko, Nikolai Sergeyev