Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • TBC
  • 1966
  • 185 mins

Andrei Rublev

Andrei Rublev

Synopsis

The horror of 15th century Russia as witnessed by the fabled icon painter is among the strangest, most wonderful epics ever to grace the big screen, thanks to director Andrei Tarkovsky

About

Andrei Rublev purports to be a biopic of the eponymous 15th century icon painter who was alive during a period of mad, murderous strife (even by Russian standards) - but who somehow rose above the brutality of his times to produce some of the greatest ever Russian art.

In fact, this isn't a biography - at least not in conventional terms. While we follow his fortunes, we learn little about the character of Rublev, beyond his disgust and dismay at the barbarity surrounding him - the endless fighting between rival princes and vicious Tartar incursions. This isn't one person's story at all, rather it's a vast and panoramic tableau vivant of an entire country, as refracted through the consciousness of the Everyman artist.

With its seemingly arbitrary, episodic structure and happenstance characterisation, the film seems like a randomised, horrific Stations Of The Cross. And what terrifying and sensual scenes these are. A man is crucified while his wife weeps at his feet, pagans frolic naked and run amok on St John's Night, a town is ransacked and its priest bestially tortured by the cruel Tartars. Rarely have such lurid, epic scenes of sensual cruelty, spiritual outrage and ordinary madness been shown with such candour, and with such beauty - Brueghel and Dostoevsky were hardly more vivid.

Tarkovsky treats the two great topics of Russian art - God and the soul of Mother Russia - with superbly honed cinematic intelligence, and almost hallucinatory imagination. The result is a mind-expanding mixture of madness, Christ-like simplicity and human venality which is absolutely overwhelming.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Nikolai Burlyayev, Nikolai Grinko, Anatoli Solonitsyn, Irma Raush, Nikolai Sergeyev, Yuri Nazarov, Ivan Lapikov
  • Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Writer: Andrei Tarkovsky, Andrei Konchalovsky
  • Producer: Tamara Ogorodnikova
  • Photographer: Vadim Yusov

In a nutshell

Devoid of conventional genre traits and cinematic formula, Andrei Rublev is deeply unsettling - and absolutely unmissable.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 Youth

    Youth

    Fred and Mick, two old friends now approaching 80, are on vacation together in an elegant hotel at the foot of the Alps. The two friends know that their time is quickly running out, and they decide to face their future together.

  • Film4 The Stranger Wore a Gun

    The Stranger Wore a Gun

    Randolph Scott stars in a Western about a former spy who relocates to Ariozna to join a gold robbbery, but quickly reassesses his decision

    On Film4: 21 Apr 1:05PM

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Mike Leigh announces new film, Peterloo

    Mike Leigh's next project will look at Peterloo - the infamous 1819 massacre by government forces at a peaceful pro-democracy rally at St Peter's Field in Manchester, when 700 working people were inju

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Four Film4-backed films selected In Competition at Cannes 2015

    Four Film4-backed films ¿ Todd Haynes¿ Carol, Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster, Paolo Sorrentino¿s Youth and Justin Kurzel¿s Macbeth ¿ have been invited into official selection at this year¿s Cannes film

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share