Andrei Rublev

Movie Information

Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present Andrei Rublev at 8 p.m. Friday, July 15, at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library). Info: 273-3332,
Genre: Quasi-Biographical Drama with Lashings of Allegory
Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Starring: Anatoli Solonitsyn, Ivan Lapikov, Nikolai Grinko, Nikolai Sergeyev, Irma Raush, Nikolay Brulyaev
Rated: NR

Several things should be known before tackling Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev, not the least of which is that it’s three hours and 25 minutes long, meaning that this is no trifling investment in time you’re making here. The next thing you should know is that it’s more dressed up as a biopic of the 15th-century painter of the title than it actually is one. And I don’t just mean the facts are either in debate, or wholly made up. Yes, Rublev (Anatoli Solonitsyn) is the main character, but it’s worth noting that he spends long stretches of the film off to the side of the action. If that doesn’t tell you how much this isn’t an artist biopic, perhaps the fact that at no point do you ever see Rublev (or anyone else) paint anything will. What you have instead is a sprawling look at the artist and the times that he lived in—and how those times informed his worldview. Ultimately, it’s a story about sin, guilt and redemption—only in this case, the redemption comes in the form of a reawakening of the main character’s humanity through an event in which he is, at best, tangentially involved.  What we have here is a difficult, long, sometimes brutal work that truly justifies the term “epic”—not in the casual, overused sense that has come to mean big and loud—in both vision and execution. But perhaps the major consideration here is that this is a film that should not be judged as it goes. That’s fruitless. Any assessment of Andrei Rublev should be withheld until you’ve seen the entire work.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.