Andrei Rublev (1966) - 9,5
Masterpiece from Tarkovsky.
Period film set in the Middle Age period loosely based on the life of the artist referenced by the title, one of the most important painters to ever live in Russia.
This film is dense and quite nuanced, probably unfair for me to describe it's essence in few words because I feel I still haven't dissected all it's substance, I want to see it again soon.
Very briefly, it seems an essay about the roles and relationship of Art and Faith in that particular socio-religious construct, about the character of a true artist and it's endurances to remain truthful to oneself no matter what happens in one's life, the implications and symbolisms can be extrapolated to a personal and universal scale.
Unlike Solaris and Stalker, Andrei Rublev does never feel like it's dragging it's pace, there's always something happening worthy of attention so, fortunately, no unnecessary torture.
Thank to this and the cinematic accomplishment I feel easily emerged in this film, the other 2 are somewaht delicate and fragile in this aspect...
There's just one thing that leaves me cold, I miss some emotional engagement, this aspect very much contributes to the charm and appeal of a work of cinema at least for me. But Tarkovsky works aren't gifted with appreciable degree of sentimentalism (probably judged unnecessary in light of the director premisses) there seems to be a barrier separating the viewer from the characters preventing us from predicting rich/profound emotional cores and relations, his films are relatively cold, emotionally austere and distant holding the viewer in a perspective where it's easier to critically analyse the events than to feel like one is part of that world and is experiencing the human interactions in first hand. The acting is competent but not very deep.
Can't really critique but it's very apparent to me in Andrei Rublev, there are several opportunities for potential development of a character or group of characters emotional canvas, but just when this seems to happen or is about to, there's a shift of attention to another subject. Seems like this is inherent to Tarkovsky cinematic language and I noticed this on his previous 2 works as well, not distracting per se, just a particularity of Tarkovksy intelectual stance that affects me in his movies and can either bore or cause fascination or just make me feel emotionally unsatisfied, depending on the movie.
Very noticeable when comparing Andrei Rublev and Bergman's The Seventh Seal, a film it shares substantial thematic gist with. Bergman has great generosity of feeling and emotion without becoming cheesy but Tarkovsky in contrast seems distant, almost inert...
This is one of those things that could leave a lot of people bored or unimpressed with Andrei Rublev, but paying attention to the intelectual nuance and great cinematic artistry at display the reward more than overcomes the lack of emotion and fully justifies the movie as it is.
This russian director makes very personal cinema, he doesn't flash the juice in our face we have to look for it, otherwise it's hard to figure out what makes his movies singular.
Andrei Rublev is technically impeccable which is amazing considering the difficulty and complexity of moving forward all the logistical resource needed to lift a movie of this scale.
Camera and cinematography work are top notch and I already have an idea of Tarkovsky style, the black levels are quite poor but I still like the picture very much, the sound work has the hallmark of Tarkovsky as well, the voices up in the mix to highlight the dialogues a peculiarity that requires just a bit of familiarization, the scenarios are commendable and contribute to the epic scale of the movie.
Everything is so well crafted and directed that despite Tarkovsky tendency to put me in a distant and analytical position, I feel engaged in that believable and authentic world as if in a dream.
Without a doubt a major work of cinema.
I love it and highly recommend!
So much that I'm forced to revise some previous ratings in order to better express my subjective feeling towards each movie level of accomplishment.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - 9,5
The Seventh Seal (1957) - 9,5
Stalker (1979) - 9
Solaris (1972) - 9