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165 out of 204 people found the following review useful:
The Greatest Movie Ever Made, 3 December 1998

"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.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Superb Fable Provided World Exposition Highlight, 3 December 1998

I believe "The Rainbow War" was filmed for Expo '86 in Vancouver; at any rate, that's where I saw it. It is a funny, enchanting, imaginative fable about tolerance & friendship in a fragmented, militaristic world. It will appeal to fans of gentle, humanist efforts like "The Red Balloon" or "Life is Beautiful". I was eleven years old when I saw "The Rainbow War", so it's possible I would be less effusive today. As it stands, though, this movie is:

my #1 all-time favourite Canadian movie

my #4 all-time favourite "war" movie

my #1 all-time favourite movie in which paint is the main weapon

I have no clue where & how it's available today. It ran at some corporate pavilion at the expo (where it was a big hit), and I haven't heard of it since.

Babe (1995)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Why Einstein Would Have Loved This Movie, 3 December 1998

Einstein said: "Peace can not be kept by force. It can only be achieved through understanding." (Or words to that effect.) That's my personal philosophy, and it's also the philosophy of "Babe", my 4th-favourite movie of all time. The movie has a pig try to become a sheepdog by working WITH the sheep, not against them. (Incidentally, this is the undisputed best sheep dog trial flick ever made.)

The message is lovely, but this is also a major artistic and technical achievement. The talking-animal effects are so perfectly executed that you stop noticing! Ie., you start to find it perfectly natural that the animals are talking, and you forget it's even an effect! Now THAT'S visual wizardry...forget the White House blowing up (recent news items aside). Aesthetically, the movie is sublime: every frame is suffused with beauty & (dare I say it?) magic. The voice acting is great; the screenplay is top-notch; the comedy is uproarious; the drama is gripping (never thought you'd be rooting for a trans-specied pig?).

Most importantly, the characters have taken on an existence for me outside of the movie itself. I find myself thinking kind thoughts about them, wishing them well, wondering what new adventures they've cooked up (although I REFUSE to see the looks horrible). It's a little disturbing that I'm feeling this way about barnyard animals, but hey, that's the power of Babe.

Suitable for all audiences, specifically those looking for movies with non-violent climaxes.