Andrei Rublev –– Russia Part 2 Andrei Tarkovsky – 1966 B/W, 205 minutes (To be shown over two months, as the film is divided into 7 chapters and two parts. They are linked through the presence of Rublev, though in some chapters he barely appears.)
Tuesday, October 17, 6:05-8:20pm.
Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center, 660 Lombard St.
Sid says: “Tarkovsky’s epic––and largely invented––biography of Russia’s greatest icon painter, Andrei Rublev (1360-1430), takes place during a time of Tatar invasions, plague, and other natural and man-made disasters. The period also marks the beginning of a national insurgence, in which icon painters played an important part. Having killed a man in the sacking of Vladimir, which is about 150 miles east of Moscow, Rublev vows not to paint again, and certainly not to paint the end of the world in the manner of Hieronymous Bosch’s “Last Judgment,” for which he is offered a handsome commission. Instead, he wanders the countryside, first taking refuge in a tavern where he witnesses the casually brutal arrest of the local clown, then arguing aesthetics in a church while outside a man is being tortured on the rack. (Evoking Saint Thomas More’s torturing of apostates in his home.) He comes across a gathering of naturists in the countryside, joyously naked and bathing in a lake during a nighttime aflare with torchlight––until a gang of religious fanatics attacks them. He takes refuge in a church with others hoping to avoid a Tatar attack on their village. He fails and witnesses the abduction of a beautiful young villager by the head Tatar. Finally, he encounters a young boy who claims to have been told the secrets of making bells by his artisan father, dead from the plague like the other bell-makers in their village, and is commanded to make one for a local prince.
This concluding chapter is a film in itself and contains an ironic twist that was one of the many reasons Soviet censors tried their damnedest to keep this film from being seen. They eventually relented and Rublev achieved worldwide prominence as one of the greatest films made about an artist, in fact as one of the greatest films ever made, period. J. Hoberman, a well-known New York film critic, says: “This is the portrait of an artist In which no one lifts a brush…But no movie has ever attached greater significance to the artist’s role.” I think it is one of the ten greatest films ever made. I hope you like it, too.”
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