#92: Andrei Rublev

Andrei Rublev (1966) — Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky

Part of the Top 150 Films series

I’m going to let you in on a secret. 80% of the time, Tarkovsky does less than nothing for me. I fell asleep during Solaris and Stalker, Nostalghia bored me to tears, and The Mirror made me want to throw things at the screen. Where others saw transcendence, I saw tedium. As such, despite its reputation, I went into Andrei Rublev with more than a hint of trepidation. Although not being vastly different from the previous films I’d detested so much, watching the film was akin to a religious experience. For over three hours, I was mesmerised by the film’s themes: artistic freedom, religion, and political ambiguity all come under Tarkovsky’s microscope. The extremely long shots of a balloon in flight or a jester entertaining a group of villagers are truly transcendental. Andrei Rublev made me see the world with new eyes; that’s the best thing a film can do.