Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • TBC
  • 1966
  • 185 mins

Andrei Rublev

Andrei Rublev


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


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 Sergeyev, Yuri Nazarov, Ivan Lapikov, Anatoli Solonitsyn, Nikolai Burlyayev, Nikolai Grinko, Irma Raush
  • Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Writer: Andrei Konchalovsky, Andrei Tarkovsky
  • 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 Salt Of The Earth

    Brazilian documentary about the life of visionary photographer Sebastião Salgado, directed by Wim Wenders and Sebastião's son Juliano Ribeiro Salgado.

    On Film4: 2 Nov 1:00AM

  • Film4

    Master Of The World

    Fun sci-fi fantasy for big kids and small, adapted from the Jules Verne story of the same name.

    On Film4: 30 Oct 3:15PM

  • Film4

    The Guest on Film4

    Dan Stevens and Maika Monroe star in violent thriller The Guest, playing for the first time on Film4.

  • Film4

    Black Cinema Season on Film4

    To tie-in with the launch of the BFIs Black Star season, Film4 presents a celebration of black filmmaking talent both in front of and behind the camera.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    TIFF 2016: Top Ten Editor Michael Leader runs through ten standouts from the Toronto International Film Festival...   The Oath I'd already seen three of the four Film4-backed films screening in Toronto (inc

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Baltasar Kormakur on The Oath

    As his Film4-backed Icelandic thriller The Oath premieres in Toronto, director/writer/actor Baltasar Kormakur speaks with editor Michael Leader about making films in Hollywood, returning to

Register with

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register