Foma shot with an arrow in "The Raid"
Boriska treasuring his bell
Andrei Rublev comforting the bellcaster
One of Rublev's great icons
Like the iconic images of the artist upon which this movie focuses, Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev is less a story or even a series of stories than it is a panorama of stopped moments in time. Like the great films of director Sergei Parajanov, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors two years earlier Sayat Nova of 1968, Andrei Rublev is less a film about time than it is a series of emblematic images, scenes that in their slow resolution of beauty and horror reveal a passionate and transformative experience that has little do with story or plot. And in that sense, nearly all of Tarkovsky's works from this film forward tell themselves in formal cinematic patterns instead of narrative space.
The Jester, Summer 1400
Theophanes the Greek, Summer-Winter-Spring-Summer 1405-1406
The Holiday, 1408
The Last Judgement, Summer 1408
The Raid, Autumn 1408
The Silence, Winter 1412
The Bell, Spring-Summer-Winter-Spring 1423-1424
Already in the prologue Tarkovsky sets up a kind of abbreviated pattern for the rest of the film. Here Yefim, a creator on the run, is chased by a mob as he daringly jumps into his balloon, a hide-bound, medieval version of a hot air balloon. Amazingly, with Yefim hanging by the ropes, the balloon takes him up and away, revealing an entirely new perspective of the universe, as the frustrated mob below menacingly lift their fists into space. Yet, as in numerous occasions throughout this film, the miraculous creation is doomed from the start; Yefim and his balloon quickly come crashing to earth, sealing, it appears, his doom.
The clapper is pulled, pulled in the other direction, returned, and pulled again. Finally, the bell rings out a somewhat deep, sonorous, clang. All are overjoyed. The villagers applaud, the nobles smile and turn away to continue their celebrations in the castle.
Los Angeles, February 9, 2010