33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NB this is the shorter version
If picture quality is your main concern, then this is the edition for you, as the image is splendid, a restored version the sharpness of which adds considerably to the majesty and impact of Tarkovsky's masterpiece. Purchasers ought to be aware however that the director's Soviet masters took exception to the sex and violence in the director's original and this, a cut down...
Published on 6 Nov 2007 by Richard Bowden
1.0 out of 5 stars excellent film destroyed by widescreen transfer
excellent film destroyed by widescreen transfer. Should be an option to see it as Tarkovsky compose it. Shame, shame and shame on criterion
Published 21 months ago by D. Martinovic
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NB this is the shorter version,
If picture quality is your main concern, then this is the edition for you, as the image is splendid, a restored version the sharpness of which adds considerably to the majesty and impact of Tarkovsky's masterpiece. Purchasers ought to be aware however that the director's Soviet masters took exception to the sex and violence in the director's original and this, a cut down version, is the result. For this edition originally the BBFC have also very kindly lopped out a few more seconds - because of a horse falling down some stairs (though I have heard it may have been accidently reinserted for the DVD release). It's still a great film, of course, but I'd argue it ultimately lacks a dimension originally intended, in the process making the film much more static and contemplative than the director conceived. The 'red cover' version, also on sale here on Amazon I see, offers 15 mins more, albeit with a picture which is less impressive.
66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just an historical epic,
Like all of Tarkovsky's films, "Andrei Rublev" stays with the viewer long after it ends and it fully warrants repeat viewings. The film is a semi-biographical account of the life of the mediaeval Russian icon painter Andrei Rublev. It is filmed as a series of discrete episodes, most of which see Rublev as merely a spectator to various events, rather than the central focus of the viewer's attention. Each episode provides the viewer with a deep insight into the life and politics of Russia in the early 15th Century, which were heavily influenced by the monastic, religious vision of life ,coexisting uneasily alongside extreme barbarity, personified by the Tartar hordes. However "Andrei Rublev" is much more than just a Russian historical epic. Each scene is sculpted exquisitely by Tarkovsky creating a haunting ,melancholy ,yet uplifting film that is a work of art of supreme quality. The sack of Vladimir and the Bell Casting scenes are particularly memorable and the cinematography throughout "Andrei Rublev" is exceptional. The film is ultimately a tribute to the indefatigability of the human spirit, battered and bruised by acts of brutality, cruelty and injustice throughout life's journey , but capable of sublime acts of creation, love and forgiveness which transcend the baseness of the material world and the inevitabilty and omnipresence of sin.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware the edition!,
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Five stars for one of the greatest films ever made - other reviewers have put it so well that there's no point in repeating their comments.
No point either in repeating the comments about the differing lengths of different editions - the choice lies between the longer edition on the American Criterion issue (205 mins) and the Ruscico/Artificial Eye cut which is about fifteen minutes shorter - although approved (and possibly preferred) by Tarkovsky himself.
However, at time of writing (2nd April 2012) there is a need to be sure what you are getting. I ordered the 2002 Artificial Eye Edition as shown above, fulfilled by Amazon from "FilmloverUk"; but what I received was a 2-DVD thinpak edition with a different cover, extracted from the 2011 barebones set The Andrei Tarkovsky Collection [DVD] . This has a rather unimpressive film tribute to Tarkovsky on the second DVD, but none of the much more valuable extras advertised with the 2002 edition. It is also about ten minutes SHORTER than Artificial Eye's own 2002 edition, in order to fit it onto one disc.
So... the film itself is the same Ruscico remastering on both sets, but truncated. And until Amazon make it clear that there are two different AE versions of "Andrei Rublev", please check what you are ordering - the 2002 or 2011 Artificial Eye edition. It does make a huge difference!
46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incomparable masterpiece of cinematography,
It is difficult not to burst into a flow of hyperbole, but it is equally difficult to convey the impact this film has on the imagination. From my first viewing, when I was perplexed and confused by it, to watching it now again and again - and it takes time and preparedness to do so - it has never ceased to be fascinating. The recurring images, from the water cleansing itself through its own flow to the silent appearance of the icons, the moments of unbearable brutality, of emotional frankness, the motive of human failure, forsakeness and reawakening of hope give this film a richness and depth that provokes a calm joy in the viewer. It's a poetic experience. It's defies words, which is what Tarkovsky always wanted his films to do. Quite literally, the bible of modern film.
40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rublev on DVD: Criterion or Ruscico?,
This review is from: Criterion Collection: Andrei Rublev [DVD]  [US Import] (DVD)
I have owned the Criterion edition of this film a long time; I recently bought the Ruscico (Russian Cinema Council) edition and think I should try to make clearer the differences. This is not a critique of Tarkovsky's work -- that is beyond my capabilities.
As you may already know, the Criterion edition is taken from Martin Scorsese's personal print and represents the penultimate version of the film, while the Ruscico edition represents the release version, which is about twenty minutes shorter. However, Tarkovsky did more than pare twenty minutes off the film -- it's actually a somewhat different film, though the differences are not major.
To begin with, the Scorsese print (Criterion) has a completely different set of credit titles and intertitles, and at that stage the film was titled "Strasty po Andreyu" (Passion of Andrei). The release version (Ruscico) is titled "Andrei Rublev" and is not merely shorter: it contains shots that do not appear in "Strasty po Andreyu" (Criterion). Commenting on the DVDs themselves, the Ruscico DVD is much better looking. The subtitles (as one might imagine) are written by someone whose native language is Russian, and that is very important to me. When the subtitles are written by an English-speaker they are rendered in English idioms and subtle, specific meanings are often lost. Sometimes one cannot even tell what a scene is about. (There is a scene in Criterion's "Ivanovo Detstvo", for example, where the English-written subs completely obscure the point of a scene, while the Russian-written English subs in Ruscico's version make it perfectly clear.) Russian-written English subtitles are sometimes ungrammatical, use idioms whose meanings are unclear to non-Russian speakers, and sometimes even inadvertantly use a word from yet another language (French, in one case that I saw), but I'll take subs written by someone whose native language is that of the film any day. In fact, if you see a version of any foreign film with English-written subs first, then see a version where the English subs were written in the film's country of origin, it will be like seeing a whole new film. (A spectacular example is the difference between Kino's "Zerkalo" [Mirror] and Ruscico's -- there is NO comparison [Ruscico wins!], except that you have to avoid Ruscico's 5.1 audio remix and select the original mono.)
Additionally, an extra of great interest is hidden away on Ruscico's "Andrei Rublev" DVD. In the individual filmographies certain titles are highlighted: these are accompanied by trailers, three of which are for Tarkovsky films. These trailers are made up largely of shots that are entirely different from anything that appeared in the final film, so should be of absorbing interest to any fan of his work.
To sum up: Although I prefer the long version represented on Criterion's disk ("Strasty po Andreyu"), the Ruscico disk has a superior image, better subtitles (to my way of thinking), and fascinating extras if you can find them. Get both DVDs.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awe inspiring testament toTarkovsky's genius,
This is less a 'film' as a deeply wrought work of art that you return to time and again to gaze at and be affected by. Despite its difficulties and demands, stay with it to the end and marvel at its glory. The final episode of the bell making is not just great story telling, it is the kind of parable and commentary on creativity and being human that only the great works of art can carry.
44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stay With It,
If you want to understand medieval Russia, this is a superb place to start. It is as if someone had gotten hold of a wayback machine and taken their cinematographer with them back to the 15th century. Andrei Tarkovski obviously owed some debts to Bergman and to Eisenstein, but he surpasses both masters in conveying medieval atmosphere. This is in part due to the fact that the film is highly accurate, historically. Tarkovski sticks to the primary texts in his depiction of Rublev, and his era. This in no way meant to imply that the film is some sort of academic exercise, only that it falls within the boundaries of the great tradition of Russian realism.
Andrei Rublev is considered by most experts (including James Billington in his marvelous book, The Icon and the Axe) to be the greatest icon-painter and muralist in Russian history. He painted his masterpiece, "Old Testament Trinity," for the monks of the monastery of St Sergius in 1425. One can view some of his most glorious creations by visiting the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg and the National Museum (Tret'iakov) in Moscow. Icons still hold great importance to the believers in Russian Orthodox Catholicism. Visit any church service in Moscow or Saint Petersburg and you will see believers lighting candles and praying before various icons. To understand the essence of this faith and properly appreciate it's depth, view Tartovski's film and read Dr. Billington's books.
As an aside, I see that Tarkovski's dense, multi-layered sci-fi classic Solaris is soon to be re-released in a restored DVD format. The recent Hollywood remake has its merits, but can't stand up to the original in terms of texture and complexity. I'm looking forward to the release, as the overall quality of the current VHS print is muddy. The sound quality is also poor. Hopefully, these issues will be addressed in the new format.
33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The artist's quest,
Not for impatient Holywood fans, this is a black and white film about free human spirit, its survival and eventual victory in oppressive circumstances.
The story line follows discrete chapters of a life of the famous Russian icon artist - Andrei Rublev. In the beginning, Andrei Rublev is a naive master-genius who believes in inherent goodness of humanity. Subsequently, through historical background and personal experience the artist gets disillusioned in the ability of his art to lead people; moreover, he doubts his own right to create art. At the end of the film, after many travails, he comes back to painting.
The historical background of Andrei's spiritual search is an oppressive time of internal strife between Russian aristocracy, Tatars' aggression, and general slavery of Russian population. It is a mistake to think about Andrei Rublev as a film about Russian history, as strictly speaking, historical events are not chronologically correct in the film. Rather, the film is using scenes of Russian history to draw parallels between medieval Russia - lawless, undemocratic, opresseed by first and foremost Russian aristocrats - and the Soviet Union of Tarkovsky's time. While it may have been quite dificult to grasp this parallel for the Western viewer, it was well understood in the Soviet Union even at the time of initial, cut-down release. Tarkovsky tries to pursuade people that their spirit is free under any regime, that they can search for truth in any kind of events - this is perhaps the main lesson of the film.
As always in Tarkovsky's art, strong story is supported by visual magnificence. Black and white give way to illuminating colour display of Rublev's art at the end of the film - just another reminder of transcendent beauty of spirit in desolate human condition.
As far as DVD is concerned, it is probably a full-version of the film with a few informative additions. Kino is not generally consistent with its material, but this DVD is a good quality viewing (forget irritating muzzak that goes with Kino annonce). You will also be trying in vane to skip a warning in 3 languages about criminal penalties for commercial use of this DVD inside the former Soviet Union (as though anybody will ever be so mad as to use Andrei Rublev commercially - the film actually defies that).
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have a little faith....,
By A Customer
A titanic feat of cinematic imagination, this film boasts enough memorable images to fill a dozen great movies. Undeniably heavy going and humourless, it is only ponderous for the first half hour; thereafter Tarkovsky takes us on a tour of 15th century Russia which, through its combination of attention to detail and lyrical visuals, sustains a vision of the past which seems at once authentic and mythopoetic. Tarkovsky uses a staggering range of cinematic perspectives -intense close ups, landscape scenes, panoramic views of battles etc. -to encompass his vision of a humanity which tries, and then salvages, Rublev's faith in life, religion and his art. If the film has a fault, it is Rublev himself, who is not a strong enough character to anchor the amazing sequences to a firm plot or emotional centre. But where the film fails to interest one sufficiently in its protagonist, it comes close to inspiring real awe for its director. Tarkovsky is clearly aiming for great art here -entertaining is rarely, if ever his concern -and there are indeed moments when the film reaches a level of true artistic genius, verging on the articulation of a wholly cinematic language of expression and impression.
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Criterion Collection: Andrei Rublev [DVD]  [US Import] by Andrei Tarkovsky (DVD - 1999)