Vividly recreating Russia at the time of the Tatar invasions, Andrei Tarkovsky’s fictionalised biography of the icon painter Andrei Rublev is a historical epic to rival Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible trilogy of the 1940s. In a frightening and barbaric medieval world, the wandering artist has his faith, and his faith in his art, sorely tested by the hellish brutalities he is confronted with.
Conceived on a vast scale, the film features several awe-inspiring set-pieces, including its opening hot-air balloon flight and the climatic casting of a giant bell. Though he shot in black and white, Tarkovsky switches to colour for the final montage of Rublev’s paintings. The film fell foul of the Soviet authorities and was not released domestically until 1971.
“Among filmmakers, one of the paradigmatic cases of indomitable entrepreneurial spirit was Andrei Tarkovsky. For each of his films he had conflicts with the Soviet State Committee for Cinematography, to the point that, from 1982, his films, which triumphed in festivals around the world, were no longer screened in the Soviet Union and his name was never again mentioned in the state-controlled media. Andrei Rublev, especially the episode entitled ‘The Bell’, can be seen as a hymn to creative freedom; to the innovator as a window to creativity that opens in societies; and to courage and risk-taking as two of the fundamental characteristics that anyone who intends to transform the world must have.” Santiago Navajas
“The hand of man moved by the hand of God.” Toni Dimkov