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Andreiv Rublev charts the life of the great icon painter through a turbulent period of 15th Century Russian history, a period marked by endless fighting between rival Princes and by Tatar invasions. Written by
L.H. Wong <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Andrei Rublev" is not merely my favourite all-time film; it transcends such pat, by-the-numbers praise. I have seen "Andrei Rublev" three times (twice on the big screen), at three very different points in my life. Each viewing, it has spoken eloquently and directly, has immersed and fascinated me. And has moved me with superlative skill and force. Other great movies have entertained me, inspired me, made me think; only "Rublev" has palpably altered my outlook on life.
Andrei Rublev was a medieval Russian iconographer; the film chronicles his struggle to maintain faith and artistry in a world of immeasurable cruelty and suffering. Rather than give us a crackerjack plot line with all the proper scene climaxes & paradigm shifts, director Tarkovsky presents us with a world in which we must immerse ourselves; once we are inside, we are confronted with rigorous pain and profound triumph. The movie is divided into chapters; the final one, involving an orphaned bell-maker's son, is a stunning film-within-a-film that provides a microcosm of the whole movie. That section, if it stood alone, would be my all-time favourite film.
Be warned: "Andrei Rublev" is SLOW. You have to slide into it; it's not a flick which dazzles, it is a world which beguiles, and which demands to be inhabited. Also, there are EXTREMELY difficult scenes to watch--torture and bloodshed abounds. Watching the Tartar attack on a Russian town is the most painful experience I've ever had--not just in a cinema, but in life.
For those willing to make the gruelling trek, however, "Andrei Rublev" is an inspiring, life-affecting experience. Created under an oppressive Soviet regime (which banned the film for years, recognizing its symbolic commentary on 20th-century Soviet government), the film shows how life can be valuable and even joyful, no matter how much suffering stands in the way.
Especially recommended for Tarkovsky fans, Dostoevsky fans, fans of medieval art, and anyone grappling with questions about suffering and human expression.
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