Andrei Rublev was considered to be one of the greatest Russian medieval painters of Orthodox frescos and icons. His authenticated work was all carried out in the 15th century and he was canonised as a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1988. Andrei Tarkovsky took up the challenge of documenting his life on film, spending two years writing the script with Andrei Konchalovsky and researching medieval history.
Divided into eight chapters, with a prologue and epilogue, Andrei Rublev is epic in many ways. The film begins with Andrei (Anatoly Solonitsyn) leaving Andronikov Monastery, roaming the countryside searching for work with fellow monks and painters Daniil (Nikolai Grinko) and Kirill (Ivan Lapikov). Over the next three hours Tarkovsky charts their separate paths in the lives of three very different characters, through famines, wars, poverty, fame and crises of faith.
Andrei Rublev is a staggering feet of cinema. It’s undoubtedly Tarkovsky’s masterpiece and most meditative and strikingly beautiful film. Despite being shot in black and white, he brings the poverty and rot of the countryside vividly to life. Whilst the duration may be daunting for some, Andrei Rublev never overstays its welcome. There’s so much going on in every shot that it’s an absolute treat to devour. The new digital print brings events to life like never before.
Andrei Rublev is released on Blu-ray by Curzon Artificial Eye on Monday.