Monday, March 28, 2016

Andrei Rublyov / Andrei Rublev

Андрей Рублёв / Страсти по Андрею [pre-release title] / Strasti po Andreju / The Passion According to Andrei / Yttersta domen. A film in two parts. SU 1966. Release: 1966 (a single screening at Dom Kino in Moscow), 1969 (Cannes). PC: Mosfilm. P: Tamara Ogorodnikova. D: Andrei Tarkovsky. SC: Andrei Mikhalkov-Kontshalovsky, Andrei Tarkovsky – [based on an idea by Vasily Livanov, n.c.]. DP: Vadim Yusov – 35 mm - camera: Convas Camera - Sovscope 2,35:1 – b&w, epilogue: Sovcolor - lab: Mosfilm. VFX: V. Sevostyanov. SFX: Pavel Safonov. PD: Yevgeni Chernyayev, with Hippolyte Novoderyozhkin and Sergei Voronkov. Cost: Lydia Novi, M. Abar-Baranovska. M and conductor: Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov - performed by the Russian State Symphony Orchestra. ED: Lyudmila Feiginova, Tatyana Yegorycheva, Olga Shevkunenko. S: Inna Zelentsova. Consultants: Vladimir Pashuto, Savely Yamschikov (historical objects), Maria Mertsalova (historical costumes).
    C: Anatoli Solonitsyn (Andrei Rublyov), Ivan Lapikov (Kirill), Nikolai Sergeyev (Theophanes the Greek), Irma Raush (Irina Tarkovskaya) (durochka = the holy fool girl [yurodivy]), Nikolai Grinko (Daniel Chorny / Daniel the Black), Yuri Nazarov (malyi knyaz = Prince Yuri of Zvenigorod / veliki knyaz = Grand Prince Vasily I of Moscow), Rolan Bykov (skomorokh = the harlequin / the minstrel), Nikolai Burlyayev (Boriska), Bolot Beishenalyev (Edigu, Khan of the Nogai horde), Mikhail Kononov (Fomka the monk), Yuri Nikulin (Patrikei the monk), Stepan Krylov (starshy liteyshchik = head of the bell foundry), Nikolai Grabbe (Stepan, sotnik Velikogo knyazya), Anatoli Obushov (Alex), Nikolai Glazkov (Efim, the hot air balloon inventor), Igor Donskoi (Christ), Tamara Ogo (Maria, mother of Jesus), Irina Miroshnichenko (Mary Magdalene), Nelly Snegina (Marfa, the woman who approaches Andrei in the Midsummer Night feast), Dmitry Orlovsky (stary master = the old master), Nikolai Kutuzov (strashiy igumen = senior abbot).
    Helsinki premiere: 15.12.1972 Capitol, released by: Kosmos-Filmi – telecast: 8.7.1985 MTV1 – vhs: 1988 Capitol Video – dvd: 2007 Finnkino (the Ruscico edition with Finnish subtitles) – VET 81193 – K16
    The project was launched in 1961, and the principal photography took place from September 1964 to November 1965. After the 1966 Dom Kino screening the film was shelved in Russia and first released in 1971. A truly wide release took place in 1987.
    Loc: Nerl River (the hot air balloon, the feast), Vladimir (the last judgment) / Suzdal (the bell), and the Pskov region (Pskov, Izborsk, Pechory).
    Tarkovsky planned to start the film with the battle of Kulikovo but abandoned the plan for budget reasons. (Dmitri Ivanovich, The Grand Duke of Moscow, defeated the Tatars at Kulikovo in 1390, ten years after the birth of Andrei Rublev).
    Rolan Bykov studied vintage profane limericks for his role as the buffoon. Anatoli Solonitsyn went silent for four months during the filming of the episode of the silence of the artist.
    Pre-release version 205 min – Tarkovsky's favoured Russian version 86 + 99 = 185 min – according to Maya Turovskaya 192 + 219 = 411 shots – shorter international versions exist – Kosmos-Film shortened the film before the Finnish classification – Finnish classification length 5040 m / 182 min
    Episodes: Prologue: The Hot Air Balloon. The Jester 1400. Theophanes the Greek 1405. The Passion According to Andrei / Страсти по Андрею 1406. The Feast 1408. The Last Judgment / Страшный суд 1408. The Raid / Набег 1408. The Silence 1412. The Bell / Колокол 1423. Epilogue: the paintings.
    The icons in the colour epilogue montage: Enthroned Christ, Twelve Apostles, The Annunciation, Twelve Apostles, Jesus entering Jerusalem, Birth of Christ, Enthroned Christ, Transfiguration of Jesus, Resurrection of Lazarus, The Annunciation, Resurrection of Lazarus, Birth of Christ, Trinity, Archangel Michael, Paul the Apostle, The Redeemer.
    A SFI print of the 182 min version.
    Screened with new e-subtitles in Finnish by Onni Nääppä at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Andrei Tarkovsky), 27 March (Easter Sunday), 2016

When I saw Andrei Rublyov for the first time in October 1973 on a leave from the military service it was already a hugely respected masterpiece. It was special, it was strange, it was unique, it was difficult. Solaris had also recently been released so there was already a Tarkovsky phenomenon, an awareness of a new great spirit in film art. From the Finnish perspective there was Bergman, a great Western neighbour, and Tarkovsky, a great Eastern neighbour.

The last time I saw Andrei Rublyov was in 2007 when I checked the Ruscico dvd edition released in Finland by Finnkino. But Andrei Rublyov needs to be seen in a cinema. It is a historical epic, and you need the magnitude of the widescreen to appreciate it.

In this film the two friends Andrei Tarkovsky and Andrei Mikhalkov-Konchalovsky challenged the historical epics of Sergei Eisenstein. The events portrayed here take place two hundred years after Alexander Nevsky and one hundred years before Ivan the Terrible. Instead of the montage approach of Alexander Nevsky and the operatic excess of Ivan the Terrible there is a mise-en-scène favouring the long take and an approach of psychological realism in the performances. The cutting is not based on Eisensteinian montage but on the Tarkovskyan concept of "sculpting in time" with a sense of real duration; switching from one block of time to another Tarkovsky is not afraid of jump cuts.

For Tarkovsky, Andei Rublyov is a key work in his quest of the spiritual history of Russia. Russian civilization had started four hundred years before Andrei Rublyov with the Holy Prince Vladimir of Kievan Rus. Then Genghis Khan invaded Russia, and after him, there was a tatar reign of the Golden Horde for centuries. While Western Europe had Renaissance and Reformation, universities, Gutenberg, and Columbus, Russians were fighting murderous Mongols who crushed their budding culture. Ivan the Terrible defeated the khans of Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberia, but Crimean tatars were still so powerful that they managed to burn down Moscow.

From a Russian point of view there is a profound link from the tatar terror seen in Andrei Rublyov via the Ottoman Empire to the ISIS terror of today. This is the key Russian nightmare, also in the sense that when you fight a monster you risk turning into a monster yourself.

That happens even to the painter monk Andrei Rublyov in this movie. When he interferes to protect a "holy fool" girl he kills the rapist soldier with an axe. The experience for him is so shattering that he ceases to paint and takes a vow of silence.

Also Ingmar Bergman directed a film on the silence of the art in the same year: Persona. 50 years ago, in 1966, a great year for the cinema.

We hardly see Andrei paint at all. There is a scene of him facing a white wall and splashing paint, like in action painting (Andrei has just learned that fellow artists have been blinded by the prince in order to prevent them to create for others). The holy fool girl starts to cry. (Which reminds me than in yet another 1966 film, Au hasard Balthazar, there is also a reference to action painting. Tarkovsky and Bresson also share the focus in the suffering of a vulnerable girl and an innocent animal). In the final montage Tarkovsky creates of Andrei Rublev's colour world a mosaic that is so abstract and nonfigurative that there is an affinity with abstract expressionism.

This spring we have screened films of Vincente Minnelli, and from Kenji Mizoguchi, Saikaku ichidai onna. Tarkovsky loved Akira Kurosawa and The Seven Samurai, and there are homages here to that film. But more profoundly Tarkovski comes close to Mizoguchi. Minnelli, Mizoguchi, and Tarkovsky belong to the masters of the the long take and the crane shot. Mizoguchi and Tarkovsky are masters of the plan-séquence. The long crane shots give us an overview of the historical suffering. We witness everything, we see the big picture instead of succumbing to confusion. In the final narrative episode of the film, the engrossing story of the casting of the bell, this approach contributes to the paean for collective work. This aspect of Andrei Rublyov is compatible with the official aesthetics of "socialist realism" even if little else is.

The cinematography by Vadim Yusov (1929-2013) is splendid. The music score by Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov (born 1936) is always fascinating and mixed with the sound world in a refined fashion. All artists give their best here like the collective in the bell casting sequence. Andrei Rublyov may be an auteur film but a true auteur is someone who inspires the entire cast and crew to give their best. There are no weak links in this picture.

Also Onni Nääppä's new Finnish translation is the best I have seen. Andrei Rublyov is a literate film and deserves a good translation like this.

The print screened was beautiful and complete and the colour was intact.

Andrei Tarkovsky likes long takes, sometimes ultra-long ones, and I had stocked chocolate in a noiseless handkerchief in order to fight fatigue but there was no need for that. Andrei Rublyov is still unique but no scenes now seemed too long.

We screened the 205 minutes pre-release version in 2004 at Helsinki Festival. Busy hosting Andrei's sister Marina Tarkovskaya and her husband Alexander Gordon I failed to see that version then and have not seen it since but Tarkovsky himself said that he came to prefer the standard three hour cut. Everything essential is in it I believe.


”Pääasia meille on taiteilijan ongelma, ihmisen, joka seisoo aikakautensa taistelujen, intohimojen ja ajatusten keskipisteessä, hänen suhteensa kansaan, auktoriteetteihin ja työtovereihinsa. Andrei Rubljovissa haluamme ilmaista, kuinka taiteilijan suhde maailmaan kehittyy, osoittaa kuinka todellinen tunnekokemus auttaa häntä määrittelemään suhteensa maailmaan ja itseensä. Vapauduttuaan luutuneesta, dogmaattisesta sääntöjärjestelmästä hän, uudistaja, lopulta löytää ja myöntää elävän perinteen. Mutta hän ei tee siitä palvonnan kohdetta, hän hyväksyy sen vain siinä määrin kuin siitä tulee osa hänen luovaa elämänkokemustaan.”
– Andrei Tarkovski

Andrei Rubljovista tiedetään varmasti muun muassa se, että hän vuonna 1408 yhdessä parhaan ystävänsä ja mahdollisesti opettajansa Daniil Tshornyin kanssa maalasi Vladimirin kaupungissa  Jumalanäidin taivaaseen astumisen katedraalin freskot. Parhaiten ovat säilyneet Tuomiopäivä-aiheiset freskot. Tässä työssä Rubljov ratkaisi perinteellisen aiheen uudella tavalla, siinä ei ole mitään kovaa eikä pelottavaa. Juuri tästä detaljista Tarkovski on kehitellyt Andrei Rubljovin taiteilijan kriisin ytimen: hän ei halua pelotella ihmisiä. Ja vuoteen 1408 Tarkovski on keskittänyt kolme elokuvansa jaksoa – Juhlan, Tuomiopäivän ja Hyökkäyksen.

Taiteilijamunkki Rubljov tuntee vastustamatonta vetoa ja uteliaisuutta kansan pakanallisiin viljavuoden hedelmällisyysrituaaleihin ja saa ensimmäisen kosketuksensa ”maalliseen” rakkauteen. Tuntematon alaston nainen puolustaa luonnollista maanläheistä ruumiillista rakkautta Rubljovin ennakkoluuloja vastaan ja selittää, miksi kyläläiset köyttivät tämän menojensa ajaksi. Jaksossa Hyökkäys Rubljov sitten joutuu silmätyksin pidäkkeettömän väkivallan kanssa, tuomitsee itsensä mykkyyteen ja tuntuu menettävän luomiskykynsä. Vasta taiteilijakollegan – raivokkaan ja piittaamattoman huimapäisesti kellon valamiseen ryhtyvän nuoren pojan – kiihkon näkeminen palauttaa hänelle luomisen kyvyn. Kaikkein olennaisimpia piirteitä rämäpäisen valajan ”taiteilijankuvassa” on juuri hänen täydellinen piittaamattomuutensa vallanpitäjistä, teoksen tilaajista. Ainoa ajatus, jonka hän heille suo, on hetken vahingonilo siitä, että hän pystyy puristamaan ruhtinaalta kelloa varten hopeaa kuinka paljon tahansa. Muutoin pojan täyttää hajamielinen kummastus ruhtinaan seuruetta kohtaan: nämä ovat sivullisia, epäoleellisia haamuja hänen ja kellon välisessä luomisen kamppailussa.

Haluun olla pelottelematta ihmisiä liittyy käänteisenä oivallus: taiteilija ei liioin saa kaunistella todellisuutta. Näin katsojan ajatus siirtyy Andrei Rubljovista Andrei Tarkovskin oman kulttuuripiirin taiteilijan ongelmaan, nykyaikaan ja neuvostoyhteiskuntaan. Historian kuvittaminen on Tarkovskille mielekästä vain sikäli kuin taiteilija siinä saa tilaisuuden puhua omasta ajastaan: ”En ymmärrä puhtaasti historiallisia elokuvia, joilla ei ole mitään kosketuskohtia nykypäivään. Minulle tärkein asia on käyttää historiallista materiaalia ihmisen ajatusten ilmaisemiseen ja nykyihmisen luonteen kuvan luomiseen.”

– Esa Adrianin (HS 20.1.1973) ja muiden lähteiden mukaan ST. Tekijätietoja päivitti AA 2000

    Note: The following synopsis refers to the original, 205 minute version of the film.

Andrei Rublev is divided into eight chapters, with a prologue and an epilogue only loosely related to the main film. The main film charts the life of the great icon painter through several episodes of his life. The background is 15th century Russia, a turbulent period characterized by fighting between rival princes and the Tatar invasions.

The film's prologue shows the preparations for a hot air balloon ride. The balloon is tethered to the spire of a church next to a river, with a man named Yefim (Nikolay Glazkov) attempting to make the flight by use of a harness roped beneath the balloon. At the very moment of his attempt an ignorant mob arrive from the river and attempt to thwart the flight, putting a firebrand into the face of one of the men on the ground assisting Yefim. In spite of this the balloon is successfully released and Yefim is overwhelmed and delighted by the view from above and the sensation of flying, but he can not prevent a crash landing shortly after. He is the first of several creative characters, representing the daring escapist, whose hopes are easily crushed. After the crash, a horse is seen rolling on its back by a pond, a symbol of life – one of many horses in the movie.

I. The Jester (Summer 1400)

Andrei (Anatoly Solonitsyn), Daniil (Nikolai Grinko) and Kirill (Ivan Lapikov) are wandering monks and religious icon painters, looking for work. The three represent different creative characters. Andrei is the observer, a humanist who searches for the good in people and wants to inspire and not frighten. Daniil is withdrawn and resigned, and not as bent on creativity as on self-realization. Kirill lacks talent as a painter, yet still strives to achieve prominence. He is jealous, self-righteous, very intelligent and perceptive. The three have just left the Andronikov Monastery, where they have lived for many years, heading to Moscow. During a heavy rain shower they seek shelter in a barn, where a group of villagers is being entertained by a jester (Rolan Bykov). The jester, or skomorokh, is a bitterly sarcastic enemy of the state and the Church, who earns a living with his scathing and obscene social commentary and by making fun of the Boyars. He ridicules the monks as they come in, and after some time Kirill leaves unnoticed. Shortly, a group of soldiers arrive to arrest the skomorokh, whom they take outside, knock unconscious and take away, also smashing his musical instrument. As the rain has stopped the three monks thank the villagers for allowing them to shelter and continue on their way. As they walk on the heavy rain starts again.

II. Theophanes the Greek (Summer–Winter–Spring–Summer 1405–1406)

Kirill arrives at the workshop of Theophanes the Greek (Nikolai Sergeyev), a prominent and well-recognized master painter, who is working on a new icon of Jesus Christ. Theophanes is portrayed as a complex character: an established artist, humanistic and God-fearing in his views yet somewhat cynical, regarding his art more as a craft and a chore in his disillusion with other people. His young apprentices have all run away to the town square, where a wrongly convicted criminal is about to be tortured and executed. Kirill talks to Theophanes, and the artist, impressed by the monk's understanding and erudition, invites him to work as his apprentice on the decoration of the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Moscow. Kirill refuses at first, but then accepts the offer on the condition that Theophanes will personally come to the Andronikov Monastery and invite Kirill to work with him in front of all the fraternity and Andrei Rublev, who according to Theophanes' comments has some fame as an icon painter in the outside world.

A short while later at the Andronikov Monastery, a messenger arrives from Moscow to ask Andrei for his assistance in decorating the Annunciation Cathedral with Theophanes the Greek. Both Daniil and Kirill are agitated by the recognition that Andrei receives. Daniil refuses to accompany Andrei and reproaches him for accepting Theophanes’ offer without considering his fellows, but soon repents of his temper and tearfully wishes Andrei well when the younger monk comes to say goodbye to his friend. Kirill is jealous of Andrei and in a fit of anger, decides to leave the monastery for the secular world, throwing accusations of greed in the face of his fellow monks, who also dismiss him. Kirill stumbles out of the monastery into the snowy countryside and is pursued by his dog, but Kirill savagely beats it with his walking stick and leaves it for dead. Andrei leaves for Moscow with his young apprentice Foma (Mikhail Kononov). Foma is another creative character, representing the light-hearted and practical-minded commercial artist. Still he seems to be contemplative enough to get along with Andrei.

III. The Passion According to Andrei (1406)

While walking in the woods, Andrei and Foma have a conversation about Foma’s faults, especially lying. Foma confesses to taking honey from the bee garden, after Andrei notices his cassock is tacky, and smears mud on his face to soothe a bee sting. While Foma has talent as an artist, he is less concerned with the deeper meaning of his work and more concerned with practical aspects of the job, like perfecting his azure, a colour which in painting was often considered unstable to mix. They encounter Theophanes in the forest, and the old master sends Foma away. As he leaves, the apprentice finds a dead swan and pokes at it with a stick. We cut to banks of a stream where Andrei and Theophanes are arguing about religion, while Foma cleans his masters paint brushes. Theophanes argues that the ignorance of the Russian people is due to stupidity, while Andrei says that he doesn’t understand how he can be a painter and maintain such views. This section contains a reenactment of Christ's Crucifixion on a snow-covered hillside which plays out as Andrei recounts the story and expresses his belief that the men who crucified Jesus were obeying God's will and loved him.

IV. The Feast (1408)

Camping for the night on a riverbank, Andrei and Foma are collecting firewood for their group when Andrei hears the distant sounds of celebration further upstream in the woods. Going to investigate he encounters a large group of naked pagans, who are conducting a torch lit ritual for Midsummer. Andrei is intrigued and excited by the behaviour of the pagans but is caught spying on a couple making love, is tied to the crossbeam of a hut in a mockery of Jesus' crucifixion and is threatened with drowning in the morning. A woman named Marfa (Nelly Snegina), dressed only in a fur coat approaches Andrei. After explaining that her people are persecuted for their beliefs she drops her coat, kisses Andrei and then unties him. Andrei runs away, and is lost in the dense woods, scratching his face. The next morning Andrei returns to his group, including Daniil, and as they leave on their boats a group of soldiers appear on the riverbank chasing after several of the pagans including Marfa. Her partner is captured but she escapes by swimming into the river past Andrei’s boat. He and his fellow monks look away in shame.

V. The Last Judgment (Summer 1408)

Andrei and Daniil are working on the decoration of a church in Vladimir. Although they have been there for several months the walls are still white and bare as Andrei is doubting himself. A messenger arrives with word from the furious Bishop to say they have until the Autumn to finish the job. On a nearby road in the middle of a field of flowers Andrei confides to Daniil that the task disgusts him and that he is unable to paint a subject such as the Last Judgement as he doesn’t want to terrify people into submission. He comes to the conclusion that he has lost the ease of mind that an artist needs for his work. Foma, impatient and ambitious, resigns and leaves Andrei's group to take up the offer of painting a smaller, less prestigious, church. Stone carvers and decorators of Andrei's party have also been working on the Grand Prince's mansion. The Prince wants the work to be done again more in line with his tastes but the workers already have another job, at the mansion of the Grand Prince's brother, and refuse. On a path through the woods soldiers accost the artisans on the orders of the Grand Prince and gouge their eyes out, so that they cannot replicate their work. Back at the church Andrei is dismayed by the news of their fate and angrily throws paint and smears it on one of the walls. Sergei (Vladimir Titov) one of the young apprentices who escaped the attack unharmed reads a random section of the bible aloud, at Daniil's request, concerning women. Durochka (Irma Raush) (whose name identifies her as a holy fool or Yurodivy), wanders in out of the rain and is upset by the sight of the paint on the wall. Her feeble-mindedness and innocence leads Andrei to the idea to paint a feast.

VI. The Raid (Autumn 1408)

While the Grand Prince is away in Lithuania, his power hungry younger brother forms an allegiance with a group of Tatars and raids Vladimir. We see flashbacks of the Grand Prince and his brother attending a religious service in the church, and see the rivalry and animosity between them. The invasion of the combined armed forces on horseback and the resulting carnage is shown in great detail. The city is burned, the citizens are murdered and women raped and killed. One scene shows a horse falling from a flight of stairs and being stabbed by a spear. Another shows a cow being set on fire. Foma narrowly escapes being killed in the city and escapes into the nearby countryside. As he is crossing a river a Tatar sentry shoots him in the back with an arrow, as he dies he falls into the river and is swept away. The Tatars force their way into the barricaded church, now fully decorated with Andrei's paintings, where the majority of the citizens have taken refuge. The Tatars show no mercy and massacre the people inside and burn all the painted wooden altarpieces. Andrei saves Durochka from being raped by killing the invader with an axe. The Bishop's messenger is cruelly tortured to make him reveal the location of the city's gold, which he refuses to do. After being repeatedly burned, he has liquid metal from a melted crucifix poured into his mouth and is dragged away tied to a horse. In the aftermath only Andrei and Durochka are left alive in the church. Andrei imagines a conversation with the dead Theophanes the Greek, lamenting the loss of his work and the evil of mankind, while Durochka distractedly plaits the hair of a dead woman. Andrei decides to give up painting and takes a vow of silence to atone for killing another man.

VII. The Silence (Winter 1412)

Andrei is once again at the Andronikov Monastery as famine and war grip the country. He no longer paints and never speaks, and keeps Durochka with him as a fellow companion in silence. Several refugees discuss the problems in their respective home towns, and one man talks in a broken voice of his escape from Vladimir. He is recognised by a younger monk as the long absent Kirill. He has suffered during his time away from the monastery and begs the father superior to allow him to return. His wish is granted but he is instructed to copy out the holy scriptures fifteen times in penance. A group of Tatars stops at the monastery while travelling through the region, much to the concern of Andrei and Kirill who experienced their brutality first hand. Durochka is too simple minded to remember what the Tatars did and is fascinated by one of the soldier's shining breastplate. The group taunt and play with her, but the soldier takes a liking to her, putting his horned helmet on her head and dressing her as a bride, finally deciding to take her away with him as his eighth, and only Russian, wife. Andrei attempts to stop her from leaving, but she is determined and rides away with the Tatars. Kirill talks to Andrei for the first time since they both left the monastery, and he assures him that Dorochka won't be in any danger, as harming a holy fool is considered bad luck, and she will be let go. Andrei continues his menial work of carrying large hot stones from a fire with tongs to heat water for the monastery, but drops the stone in the snow.

VIII. The Bell (Spring–Summer–Winter–Spring 1423–1424)

Andrei’s life turns around as he witnesses the casting of a bell for the Grand Prince. The bellmaker and all his family have died of a plague that has ravaged the area, and only his son Boriska (Nikolai Burlyayev) has survived. He tells the Prince's men that he is the only one who possesses his father's secret, delivered on his death bed, of casting a copper bell and persuades them to take him with them as he is the only person left alive who can make it successfully. Boriska is put in charge of the project and frequently contradicts and challenges the instincts of his co-workers when choosing the location of the pit, the selection of the proper clay, the building of the mold, the firing of the furnaces and finally the hoisting of the bell. The process of making the bell grows into a huge, expensive endeavour with many hundreds of workers and Boriska makes several risky decisions, guided only by his instincts. As the furnaces are opened and the molten metal pours into the mould, he privately asks God for help. Andrei silently watches Boriska during the casting, and the younger man notices him too.

During the bell-making, the skomorokh from the first sequence makes a reappearance amongst the crowds who have come to watch the bell being raised up and he threatens to kill Andrei, whom he mistakes for the man who denounced him years earlier and therefore led to his arrest, torture and prison sentence. Kirill intervenes on behalf of the silent Andrei and later privately confesses that his sinful envy of Andrei’s talent dissipated once he heard Andrei had abandoned painting and that it was he, Kirill, who had denounced the skomorokh. Kirill then criticises Andrei for allowing his God-given talent for painting to go to waste and pleads with him to resume his artistry, to no response.

As the bell-making nears completion, Boriska’s confidence slowly transforms into a stunned, detached disbelief that he’s succeeded at the task. The work crew takes over as Boriska makes several attempts to fade into the background of the activity. Once the bell has been hoisted into its tower the Grand Prince and his entourage arrive for the inaugural ceremony as the bell is blessed by the priests. As the bell is prepared to be rung the royal entourage is overhead discussing their doubts that it will. It is revealed that Boriska and the work crew know if the bell fails to ring the Grand Prince will have them all beheaded. (It is also overheard that the Grand Prince had his brother, who raided Vladimir in The Raid sequence, beheaded.) There is a quiet, agonizing tension as the foreman slowly coaxes the bell's clapper back and forth, nudging it closer to the lip of the bell with each swing. A pan across the assembly reveals white-robed Durochka, leading a horse (preceded by a boy, presumably her son) as she walks through the crowd. At the critical moment the bell rings perfectly and she smiles. After the ceremony, Andrei finds Boriska collapsed on the ground, sobbing as he admits his father never told him the secret of casting a bell. Andrei comforts him, breaking his vow of silence and telling the boy that they should carry on their work together: “You’ll cast bells. I’ll paint icons.” Andrei sees Durochka, the boy, and the horse walk off across a muddy field in the distance.

The epilogue is the only part of the film in colour and shows time-aged, but still vibrant, details of several of Andrei Rublev’s actual icons. The icons are shown in the following order: Enthroned Christ, Twelve Apostles, The Annunciation, Twelve Apostles, Jesus entering Jerusalem, Birth of Christ, Enthroned Christ, Transfiguration of Jesus, Resurrection of Lazarus, The Annunciation, Resurrection of Lazarus, Birth of Christ, Trinity, Archangel Michael, Paul the Apostle, The Redeemer. The final scene crossfades from the icons and shows four horses standing by a river in the rain.


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