Day 294: Andrei Rublev 1966

Day 294
Friday 20 April 2018  0517am
Andrei Rublev  1966

An Andrei Tarkovsky Film

Over the course of three hours I discovered that this film was outside of the boundaries of everything I know about life. That’s not such a broad statement to make because I was born in 1963 and live in Australia. But, it was also outside the bounds of what I thought films (obviously people, not films) would consider suitable subjects for a mammoth investment.

There are seven sections not including a prologue and a coda.

The prologue doesn’t seem to belong to the rest of the film. I’m going to think about how it relates. The coda definitely belongs as it is the appreciation (and recognition) of all the artists who painted the walls and ceilings of churches anywhere, ever, throughout history.

There’s the usual raping and pillaging but there’s also a lot of time given to showing the faith – and the infractions – of believers in God and revealing details about his son, Jesus Christ, and who he was, and what he endured.

None of this makes much sense to me because I know the film was made in a Communist country under Communist rule. The Russian Orthodox Church is not something I’m familiar with in any way other than name. I know there’s a Greek one and a Russian one. But in the USSR where does Christianity sit amongst any position the government takes? Presumably unfavourably.

Surely a film which quotes important pieces of scripture, from the Hebrew/Christian bible, is going to be banned. It also quotes other parts of the New Testament which are confusing and describe how the man is the head and the woman is subject to the man and the hierarchy of God, Jesus and the created beings.

Most confounding of all is that the film has – seemingly – thousands of extras, has extraordinary sets, and would require a separate army of cooks and servers to feed them all. In Russia, whether it is the 1920s, 1950s or 1960s, how does a person – a director – get to command such resources? How does a person get the money to pay for the costumes, the sets, the celluloid, the developing, and the food that a film of any length or breadth require?

Andrei Rublev is a film of such scope that I find it hard to fathom how it could possibly have the resources provided to produce it.

The script is so far-reaching that it also requires an answer to explain how a Communist State would approve of a script which required a degree of resources far beyond what any other filmmaking country or nation could muster, let alone pay for.

I’m in a state of bewilderment because I have seen a film which is so profound in what it depicts that I can’t conceive how it was able to be made.

Then there is everything related to what it does, what it expresses and what it tells the viewers about. It especially makes me wonder about what Konchalovskiy and Tarkovsky believe. Do they have a Christian faith?