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Andrei Rublev

Screening on Film
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky.
With Anatoly Solonitsyn, Ivan Lapikov, Nikolai Grinko.
USSR, 1966, 35mm, color and b&w, 185 min.
Russian with English subtitles.

One of the great masterpieces of cinema, Andrei Rublev is an epic and episodic portrait of the 15th-century Russian icon painter (Solonitsyn) and “the ties between the artist and his epoch, his people.” (Tarkovsky) Ovchinnikov’s predominantly incidental score occupies little more than a third of the film’s three hours, but proves crucial to Tarkovsky’s mise-en-scène — the distant, plaintive folk melody in “The Jester,” for example, or the atmospheric tribal sounds in “The Holiday.” Young actor Nikolai Burlyaev, the protagonist in Ivan’s Childhood, here plays the bell-maker’s son Boriska; in a touching reference to the previous film, Boriska’s brief dream uses the same theme found in the first dream of Ivan. The climactic epilogue, an up-close adoration of Rublev’s icons, features one of Ovchinnikov’s most abstract and original musical statements.

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