At the moment films are a bit like busses – after going a while barely seeing any list films I am suddenly making a few posts in rather quick succession. Not that I am complaining, in fact anything that will help me towards completing this list is always welcome (just maybe not another wrist injury).
Andrei Rublev was watched today because, according to iCheckMovies, it was the biggest film that I had yet to see. It’s one of those I have been avoiding because of the 200+ minute runtime and it being about a medieval Russian monk. It’s not that I haven’t seen good films with a religious bent (Ordet is the one that immediately comes to mind), but 3+ hours is a long time to spend with a monk in bleak surroundings (like in Red Psalm… I think… can’t remember too much about that film).
I think I gave Andrei Rublev a bit of an injustice there. I mean, sure, it is a long film with a monk as a central character surrounded by the bleakness of medieval Russia – but it is also an interesting look at Russian history. A completely rearranged Russian history in order to satisfy Tarkovsky’s vision, but still interesting nonetheless.
The whole film is split into 8 story chapters and a final epilogue showing off the paintings of the titular monk. To be honest the first few of them drag a bit and can feel a little bit preachy with the politics of it all, but this does change in the second third of the film. For one thing there’s a massacre executed by a Tartaric army, which is slightly marred by a small sequence of a horse falling down stairs… I didn’t like that so much.
This then leads into the final and longest act of the movie – surrounding the casting of a new bronze bell. Doesn’t sound too interesting, but it acts as a incredibly well done culmination of the previous two hours. Especially the tension that builds when they have to test the bell out.
To many critics Andrei Rublev is one of the best films ever made. Whilst I wouldn’t go as far as to agree with this sentiment, it is one of those films that I feel will stand me in good stead when talking with other film lovers.