Sunday, April 08, 2007

Andrey Rublyov

Since I spoke about the movie Perfume: The Story of the Murderer in my last post, I decided to go over some movies that I saw in the past (and indeed I saw so many), which naturally lead me to one of my favorite directors – Andrei Tarkovsky and his movie Andrey Rublyov.

We know so little about Rublyov and there are very few historical documents, all very brief. What is known is that he lived in 15th-century Russia and that he is considered to be the greatest Russian iconographer. I think I can start already from here by telling that the movie Andrey Rublyov is (among other things) the story about artist and his position in the world, pictured through the regime of the middle-age Russia in this particular case but mind you, the story has universal character.

You can be very famous (Rublyov surely is!) but yet history might not know anything about you. An artist is often (so to say) a product of his/her time because no one is isolated from the historical events in one way or another. This movie (to quote Tarkovsky) will tell you of the impossibility of creating art outside of the nation's aspirations, of the artist's attempts to express its soul and character, and of the way that an artist's character depends upon his historical situation. As an artist, I was deeply moved by this movie. There is also some hardness that lasts long after the movie ended…

Although the movie is named by Andrey Rublyov, he appears to be just one of the characters, often passive as he is merely observing the situation but deeply affected by the events.

All main characters are different and interesting. All of them have their own tales, personal philosophy and approach to art and events. For example, Theophanes the Greek is already an established iconographer, old enough to live without illusions. For him, art is but a craft. I liked some of his lines very much, like when he said:

Yes, I'm going to die. The other day, I saw an angel in my dream. "Come with me," he says. And I answer: "I'm going to die soon anyway, without your help."

Or when he said (referring to people):

Today they praise, tomorrow they'll abuse what they praised only yesterday, and after that they'll forget both you and me. They'll forget everything!

The script is written by Andrei Konchalovsky and Tarkovsky. The particular historical background is not bright but has history ever been?! Religion and the regime are in the center of the story but there is much more than that.

The entire movie is black and white except the very end, where we can see the actual Rublyov’s iconography and that almost gives a sense of the miracle.

The movie won three awards. Not enough I would say ;). Tarkovsky’s cinematography is simply beautiful! I think this is a must see movie.


the art of memory said...

great images, i was just about to watch this on my new tv, will have to take a take a look at this again afterwards,
thanks for the link.

Kahl said...

Only one theatre near us played Perfume, and for only a weekend, so we missed it and now wait anxiously for it on DVD. Because of your review, however, we've just received Andrei Rublyov from netflix and I will hopefully be able to watch it tonight! I so look forward to it. I must say that your reviews are enticing! I also love that you include so many images. Seeing the photographic quality of a film always inspires me to see it, being the visual person I am. I'll have to give you my impressions once I've seen this.

Milena said...

Thanks for the visit Matthew :)

Let me know your opinion about the movie.

Milena said...

Great! I can not wait to hear from you Kahl. I think you won't be disappointed.