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500 Five-Star: Andrei Rublev (1966)

August 19, 2011


I believe that to appreciate Andrei Rublev fully, your brain needs to be wired a certain way.  Take me, for example.  My brain is wired to be able to understand the written word.  I’m a reader, a historian…I can see words on a page and interpret those words to a meaning that may not be as instantly recognisable to others.  I’m not saying this to be arrogant; like others find with maths, or music, it’s just something I’ve always found quite easy.  However, I’m the total opposite when it comes to art.  I look at a picture, I might think it’s pretty, but that’s pretty much my limit.  I’m not going to be able to interpret the different uses of shading, or understand why an artist has used pastel instead of paint.  Basically, I’m clueless.  And herein lies the problem with Andrei Rublev for me: it’s not really a film.  It’s a piece of art.  Example: within a couple of minutes of the film starting, we are shown a black horse rolling around in a field.  Me?  I see a black horse rolling around in a field.  But on doing a little research, I discovered that this horse is a ‘symbol of life’.  Huh.  Who knew?  Andrei Rublev is full of such images, it’s scenes constructed to convey hidden meanings and questions for the viewer.  Each of the film’s segments (rather than one continuous story, the film is broken up into a number of shorts) are designed to be a meditation on art, humanity and religion, and how the three can be reconciled.  There are plenty of people more intelligent than me who will require three or four viewings just to get a basic grasp on the questions asked by director Tarkovsky.  It is a piece that needs to be pored over, thought about, analysed and studied.  For film students, or even art students, it’s no doubt a dream…but sadly, it’s just not for me.



It’s a beautiful film, full of striking, memorable images, but for someone like me it’s simply too exhausting to be enjoyed.  A film for study rather than entertainment, and as this project is about my own personal entertainment and appreciation, I find I can give it only…


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