Andrei Rublev (movie)

Andrei Rublev (in Russian :  Андрей Рублёв ) second feature film by Andrei Tarkovsky , is a historical film and drama Soviet in black and white and color shot in 1966 and released in 1969 , on a scenario of Tarkovsky and Andrei Konchalovsky with Anatoli Solonitsyne and Ivan Lapikov in the lead roles.

Source of the film

The monk and Russian icon painter Andrey Rublev lived about 1360 to 1430, a period marked by invasions of Tatars and religious sectarianism conflicting with orthodox doctrine . The film is not biographical, but asks questions about the essence of art and the meaning of faith. In this time of great violence, it is difficult for Rublev to have faith in his artistic mission.


The film, divided into a prologue and epilogue eight tables, shows life in Russia from the xv th century , between 1400 and 1423 , through the eyes of Andrei Rublev , itinerant painter of icons .


A man named Yefim preparing a hot air balloon near a small village and manages to fly, hanging from ropes before landing in disaster footnote 1 . The scene of the film of the flight is filmed at the Church of the Intercession of the Virgin on the Nerl located in Bogolioubovo. The balloon flies over the meadows surrounding this church but also the Convent of the Intercession (Suzdal) 1 .

The histrion (summer 1400)

While torrents of water fall on a village and to pass the time, a skomorokh note 2 amuses the gallery by making fun of the boyars , in a common room where all the inhabitants are reunited. When three monks painters of icons, Andrew, Kirill and Daniil, ask for hospitality, the time of the duration of the storm, the silence is done. Following the denunciation of Kirill, men on horseback arrive, ask the histrion out of the shelter, knocked him against a tree and take him away. The three monks resume their journey because the rain has stopped.

Theophanes the Greek (summer 1405 – summer 1406)

Kirill visits the old painter Théophane says the Greek . After briefly praising the painter Andrey Rublev, Kirill tries to convince Theophanes to accept him in his studio to make frescoes in the cathedral church of the Holy Annunciation in Moscow.

At Monastery Andronikov , the monks receive an emissary from Theophane praying to Andrey to go to Moscow to paint at the Cathedral of the Annunciation . Kirill, jealous, leaves the monastic life for the secular world. Andrei, accompanied by the young apprentice Foma, leaves for Moscow.

The Passion according to Andrey

Walking in the woods, Andrei and Foma discuss the defects of the apprentice, Foma is concerned about the practical aspects of work, how to perfect the azure , an unstable color note 3 .

Andreï joins Théophane, they have a conversation on the banks of a stream where the Greek affirms that the ignorance of the Russian people is due to his stupidity, Andréï retorts not to understand how one can be painter and to have such views of mind .

A reconstruction of the Crucifixion of Christ is performed as Andre expresses his faith.

The Holiday (1408)

During a night walk, on the eve of Ivan Kupala’s day note 4 , Andrei meets a group of naked pagans whose celebration involves sensuality and lust. He feels attracted by this ritual. Pagans capture him and tie him cross to the pole of a barn, threatening him with drowning. Marfa, a woman dressed only in a cloak, approaches Andrei, drops his garment, kisses Andrei and releases him.

The next day, as Andrei joined his companions and crossed the river by boat, soldiers arrived and attacked the pagans. Marfa flees and swims past Andrei’s boat, which turns her eyes away from shame.

The Last Judgment (summer 1408)

Andrei and Daniil decorate a church in Vladimir, but the work does not advance, Andrei doubts himself. The painter confided to Daniil that this task disgusts him and that he is unable to paint a subject such as The Last Judgment , because he refuses to terrify people. He thinks he has lost the freedom of mind that an artist needs. He remembers the time when he was painting for the Grand Prince who made the eyes of the craftsmen go out to prevent them from reproducing the works they had just created. As the flashback ends, Durochka, a simple-minded deaf-mute, enters the church. The idea of painting a party comes to Andreï’s mind.

The Bag (Fall 1408)

While the Grand Prince Vasily st Russia is in Lithuania , his brother note 5 , at the head of a band of Tartars , devastating the city of Vladimir. The Tatars loot, burn, murder, a horse falls from a staircase pierced by a spear, a cow burns note 6 . The Tatars enter the church where people have taken refuge, and Andrei prevents the rape of Durochka by killing his attacker, a Russian. Shaken by this event, Andrei decides to abandon painting and makes a vow of silence.

The Silence (1412 Winter)

Andrey returned to Andronikov monastery . He keeps silent, does not paint anymore, and keeps Durochka under his protection.

After several years outside any monastic life, Kirill presents himself to the monastery and asks the superior father to reinstate him. His request is accepted, but in penance he must copy the scriptures fifteen times . It’s winter, accompanied by a period of famine. Tatars stop at the monastery. Durochka, hungry, at the sight of the meat that the Tartars throw at the dogs, pulls out of the protection of Andrei and leaves with the riders.

La Cloche (Spring 1423 – Spring 1424)

Near Souzdal , a village devastated by the plague begs to be reborn and, for its inhabitants, this rebirth goes through the melting of a bell . But the bells burner is dead, his son Boriska is responsible for melting the impressive bell. He leads the team with mastery, knowing that if he fails, he will be beheaded note 7 , 2 . When the beating of the bell is set in motion and gives a perfect sound, Boriska falls in tears and confesses in the arms of Rublev that his father “this carrion” had not transmitted to him the slightest manufacturing secret. In front of so much faith, Rublev breaks his vow of silence, to which he has bound himself for ten years, and promises to start painting again.


The last shots, in color, show icons of Rublev and his contemporaries, such as Christ the Pantocrator , Gregory of Nazianzen , The Transfiguration , The Savior of Zvenigorod and the Icon of the Trinity . Four horses in pasturesfrolicking in the rain complete the last part of the film.

Technical sheet

  • Title: Andrei Rublev (“Андрей Рублёв” )
  • Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Screenplay: Andrei Kontchalovski , Andrey Tarkovsky
  • Production: Tamara Ogorodnikova
  • Music: Viatcheslav Ovtchinnikov
  • Photography: Vadim Yusov
  • Editing: Ludmila Feiginova , O. Shevkunenko and Tatiana Yegoricheva
  • Sound: Inna Zelentsova
  • Sets: Yevgeny Chernayev
  • Technical advisers: Vladimir Pachouto , Saveli Iamchtchikov , Maria Mertsalova (historical costumes)
  • Country of origin: Soviet Union
  • Production Companies: Mosfilm , Tvorcheskoe Obedinienie Pisateley i Kinorabotnikov
  • Distribution companies: Mosfilm ( ) Cifrovoy Element ( , DVD , Blu-Ray ), Baba Yaga Distribution ( ) Potemkin Movies ( ), MK2 ( , DVD , Blu-Ray )
  • Budget: 1,300,000 rubles
  • Russian language
  • Size: Black and white and color – 2.35: 1 – Mono – 35 mm
  • Duration: 180 minutes (international standard copy), 205 minutes (USSR exit in 1969); other Russian holdings: 145, 165 and 186 minutes
  • Release dates:
    •  Soviet Union :
      • December 1969 (limited release)
      • ( Moscow , first)
      •  (national release)
      • 1988 ( director’s cut )
    •  France :
      • ( Cannes festival )
      • December 1969 (national release)
      •  (restored version)
      • (restored DVD , Blu-Ray version )
    •  Italy :
      • ( Sorrento festival )
      • ( Rome , Russian Film Week )
      • ( Rome , Russian Film Week )
      •  (national release)
    •  United States :
      • 1973 (national release)
      • (first DVD )


  • Anatoly Solonitsyne : Andrei Rublev
  • Ivan Lapikov : Kirill
  • Nikolai Grinko : Daniil Tcherny (Daniel the Black)
  • Nikolai Sergeyev : Theophanes the Greek
  • Irma Raush : the innocent
  • Nikolai Bureliaev: Boriska
  • Yuri Nazarov : The Great Prince / his brother
  • Yuri Nikulin : the monk Patrike
  • Rolan Bykov : the jester
  • Nikolai Grabbe : Stepan, Centurion of the Grand Duke
  • Mikhail Kononov : Foma
  • Stepan Krylov : bell foundry
  • Irina Miroshnichenko : Mary Magdalene
  • Bolot Beishenaliev : the Khan Tatar
  • K. Aleksandrov
  • E. Borisovsky
  • Igor Donskoy : Christ
  • Nellie Sneguina : Marfa


Filming dates

Andrei Rublev was shot from April to November 1965 and from April to May 1966 3 .

Filming Locations

Andrei Rublev was shot mainly in the cities of Vladimir , Suzdal , Pskov , Izborsk and Petchory as well as on the banks of the Nerl , a river near Vladimir [ref. necessary] .

The Last Judgment was shot inside the Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir [ref. necessary] .

Around the film

Andrei Rublev : Tarkovsky writes

  • “The history of Rublev’s life is the story of a concept taught and enforced, which is burning in the atmosphere of the living reality, to rise from the ashes as a new truth discovered barely 4 . “

The loss of the manuscript

In his memoirs , Tarkovsky wrote on April 6, 1973:

“I remembered how I had misplaced the manuscript of Rublev’s script , when I had no duplicates. I left him in a taxi at the corner of Gorky Street (…). And the taxi was gone! … In despair, I was going to get drunk. After an hour, I went out (…) Two hours later, while I went down the street, exactly in the same place, where I got out of the car, a taxi slowed down (in full violation of the code of the road) and the driver handed me my manuscript by the window … It was a miracle! [ref. required]

This episode, presumably between 1963 and 1965, deeply marked Andrey Tarkovsky.

Soviet censorship

Despite Tarkovsky’s freedom to shoot, his second film, once completed, undergoes Soviet censorship. It is finally shown at the Cannes Film Festival only in 1969, cut by the Soviet authorities by twenty minutes, on the last day of the screenings, at four in the morning – which will limit to the public the impact of this work of three hours. Despite obtaining the FIPRESCI prize , which allows the film to be broadcast abroad, it is nonetheless banned by the Soviet authorities until December 1971 5 .

Projection for Leonid Brezhnev

The secretary general of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev realizes that the film is in complete contradiction with the Soviet ideology, and leaves, before the end, the projection organized for him. Andrei Rublev gives pride of place to mysticism and faith. In addition, the film also raises the question of the relationship between the artist and his sponsors.

Video Copy

The video copy (VHS) offered by the collection The movies of my life (duration: 180 minutes) contains the original Russian title translated by The Passion according to Andrey , also title of the third of the eight parts of the film.


In 1995, members of the European Academy of Cinema and Television ranked the film at the th place of the best films of world cinema 6 .


Critics were unanimous in considering that if the film had been in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, he would have received the Palme d’Or 7 .

  • FIPRESCI Prize for International Criticism at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival
  • Léon-Moussinac Prize – 1970


  • Michel Chion , Andrei Tarkovsky. The Book , Cahiers du cinéma, coll.  “Great filmmakers”,
  • Robert Bird ( translated by Nathalie David and Olga Chimanskaia for Russian), Andrei Rublev by Andrei Tarkovsky , Editions de la Transparence, coll.  “Cinephilia”, ( ISBN  978-2-35051-030-9 )
  • (ru) Mr Turovskaia , 7 1/2, Iili, Fil’my Andreia Tarkovskogo , Moscow, Izd-vo Iskusstvo, ( ISBN  9785210002792 )
  • Andrei Konchalovsky and Andrei Tarkovsky ( translated by  Luda and Jean Schnitzer), Andrei Rublev , Paris, the French Publishers together,
    The book is divided into three parts: “Andrei Rublev’s Russia” by Luda and Jean Schnitzer, “Andrei Tarkovsky talks about his film” by Andrei Tarkovsky, and “Literary Scenario of the Film” by Andrei Konchalovsky.
  • The artist in ancient Russia and the new USSR , interview with Andrei Tarkovsky by Michel Ciment, Luda and Jean Schnitzer, Positive No. 109, Oct. 1969, p. 5.
  • Robert Bird, Andrei Tarkovski. Elements of Cinema , London, Reaktion Books Ltd, 2008.

Unfinished project on the same subject

Vasily Livanov wanted to shoot a film on the same theme and planned to play the role of Rublev himself.

Notes and references


  1. ↑ Tarkovsky transposes at the time of the so-called Rublev invention Furvin Kryakutnoy , a Russian from the early xviii th century who would have imagined the hot air balloon over fifty years before the Montgolfier brothers who would have flown near Kostroma.
  2. ↑ The skomorokhs were entertainers, both musicians, actors, singers, dancers who were persecuted from the xv th century when the Church vigorously spread his conception of ascetic life.
  3. ↑ difficult to manufacture, the color blue has long been discarded. It was not until the xii th century that the Virgin will dress in blue, the skies will be painted that color, whereas they were previously in gold leaf, and black, red, or white and that the blue reaches the rank of divine color, symbolizing fidelity, chastity, loyalty, justice and faith.
  4. ↑ On the day of Ivan Kupala is the feast of John the Baptist in some countries of Central Europe and Eastern , held during the summer solstice , the equivalent of the St John’s Eve .
  5. ↑ brother Vasily first Russian Vladimir guilty of the bag is either Vasili II of Russia or Yuri IV of Russia
  6. ↑ A controversy exists about the cow fire eyewitnesses claim that Tarkovsky had to fire a live cow, while the filmmaker claims that the animal was covered with asbestos
  7. ↑ The scene of the bell cast by Boriska is filmed nearby walls south of the Monastery of Saint Euthymius above the ravine leading down to the Kamenka and to the Convent of the Intercession (Suzdal)


  1. ↑ (ru) Yuri Belov, Suzdal in the leading role, Moskva “Algoritm”, 2006, p.  55 (рий Белов, “В главной роли Суздаль”) ( ISBN 5-9265-0281-0 )
  2. ↑ (ru) Yuri Belov, op. cit., p.  55 (Юрий Белов, “В главной роли Суздаль”)
  3. ↑ Chion 2007 , p.  90
  4. ↑ Andrei Tarkovsky , Sculpting in Time , Paris, Cahiers du Cinema , al.  “Little Cahiers Library”,p.  105
  5. ↑ The film is screened in several rooms in the Soviet Union from 10 December 1971 ( Cinema 72 , o 163, February 1972 , p. 5)
  6. ↑ Russian cinema  [ archive ] on the site of the Palais des Festivals in Cannes
  7. ↑ The Mask and pen, France-Inter, June 8, 1969 [1]  [ archive ]

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