Classic Movie Review: Andrei Rublev (1966) #AtoZChallenge

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter A

Welcome to the Panorama of the Mountains Blogging A to Z Challenge. This year I’m watching and reviewing movies from A-to-Z based on my Classic Movie Project. Most movies will be featured on one or more of three lists: AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies (USA), The Sight & Sound Greatest Films of All Time (UK), and Cahiers du Cinéma Greatest Films of All Time (France). In some cases, I will be very creative in assigning a Classic Movie to a letter of the alphabet, and in a few cases the movie I watch will not be Classic Movies at all.

Title: Andrei Rublev
Release Date: December 16, 1966
Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Production Company: Mosfilm
Summary/Review: This epic film is based on the life of Andrei Rublev (Anatoly Solonitsyn), a monk in Russia in the early 1400s who gained renown for painting icons and other religious art. The film is split into eight parts depicting incidents from different periods of Rublev’s life (as well as a few other incidents that occur during his lifetime). The film is set against the background in-fighting among Russian princes and raids by Tatars. Thus the film depicts the horrors of war, cruelty, and barbarity contrasted with Rublev’s faith and the beauty of art.

The episodes depict Rublev’s transitions from youthful idealism to disillusionment with humanity to ultimately maturing to realize that his art can make a positive contribution to the world. In addition to Rublev’s story, the prologue and final chapter depict two other artistic spirits, a balloon pilot and a bellmaker, each of whom put their lives on the line in faith of their art. I found the movie well-made and well-acted but thought it was far too long and plodding.
Rating: ***

16 thoughts on “Classic Movie Review: Andrei Rublev (1966) #AtoZChallenge

  1. I remember reviewing Andrei Rublev (having checked, a little over ten years ago!), and agree it is extremely long and plodding. Nice to see you making your way through some lists as well – I watched it as part of the films that Empire Magazine rated 5-stars – Andrei Rublev regularly appears on many of their other “top” lists as well.


    1. I will have to check out that list at some point. I really want to expand my horizons beyond the typical Hollywood (with a few “foreign” films thrown in) canon.


  2. You know, these kinds of movies would be great to teach a course using. There’s a lot of material but too much to sit through from the sounds of it. I would love to teach a class using one film.


    1. Yes, I think I would’ve liked this movie more if I had time to space it out. Also one of these days I need to take a real film studies course and better understand what these filmmakers are doing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It sounds like the film would be a challenge to produce. It’s a compelling story, but how well does it transfer to film? Thank you for exposing me to a picture I wouldn’t have otherwise seen! Glad to have found you through the A to Z Challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to have met you too! I feel like we have some parallel lives as dads with kids who play sports (although I don’t write about that aspect of my life all too often).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Eight installments does seem like a little much although I like the story arc you describe and agree with the sentiment that art can make a positive contribution to the world. I’ve always loved that meme “Earth without Art is just Eh”. We need beauty in the world. Weekends In Maine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This movie is nothing compared to Satantango which is 12 segments over 7.5 hours. That was a chore to watch. Andrei Rublev is just a long movie but not unbearable.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m looking forward to your posts this month, Liam. I’m a film illiterate having not grown up with them, so I expect to learn a lot. Hadn’t even heard of Andrei Rublev and would be interested in it for the icon-painting (known by its practitioners as icon-writing) alone, despite the deterrent effect of its being “far too long and plodding.”


    1. msjadeli made a good point in a comment up above that one could watch this film over a period of time and really absorb it and it would probably be more meaningful. I didn’t have that luxury as I rushing to get posts ready for the A to Z but I’m certain it would make a difference.

      Liked by 1 person

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