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aka - Andrei Rublov
USSR 1966
Directed by
Andrei Tarkovsky
187 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
5 stars

Andrei Rublev

A major work by one of the most visual directors in cinema history, this portrait of Russia's most famous icon painter, Andrei Rublyev, who lived in the 15th century, is told in eight imaginary episodes book-ended by a prologue and epilogue.

The film is not so much a biography as a reflection on the life of the artist as such, with Tarkovsky using stunning black and white (and finally colour) imagery redolent with the spirituality central to the autochthonic Russian culture whilst also tackling the thorny question of the social role of the artist. Of course it would help to speak Russian so as not to have to read the sub-titles and some familiarity with Russian culture would also deepen one's appreciation of Tarkovsky's import but even so this is a mesmerizing experience from one of the masters of cinema histroy.  It was filmed in Sovscope in 1966 with an original running time of 185 minutes although it sat on the shelves for some 5 years before being released in shorter versions (UK 146 mins; USA 165 mins).




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