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, Irma Raush, Anatoli Solonitsyn, 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

    The Five-Year Engagement

    Jason Segel and Emily Blunt are Tom and Violet, a happy couple whose plans to marry become increasingly hopeless. Co-starring Chris Pratt and a host of sit-com favourites, expect sincerely romantic moments amongst Segel's signature frat boy humour.

    On Film4: 4 Aug 9:00PM

  • Film4

    Maidan

    Documentary portrait of the winter 2013/14 Ukrainian demonstrations in Kiev against the pro-Moscow presidency of Viktor Yanukovych and for a greater integration with Europe.

  • Film4

    Damsels in Distress on Film4

    Whit Stillman returns to directing, with a twee comedy that follows Greta Gerwig and her pompous college buddies as they set about improving campus life for all

  • Film4

    The Five-Year Engagement on Film4

    Jason Segel and Emily Blunt are Tom and Violet, a happy couple whose plans to marry become increasingly hopeless. Co-starring Chris Pratt and a host of sit-com favourites, expect sincerely romantic moments amongst Segel's signature frat boy humour.

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Share