“Andrei Rublev” is a Russian masterpiece

“Andrei Rublev” is a Russian masterpiece

Robert Tanitch reviews the latest DVDs

ANDREI RUBLEV (Fusion) is the name of a great medieval Russian icon painter, a former monk (played by Antoliy Solonitsyn), who lost and regained his faith. It is a story of the artist and society, the artist and Christianity, and Man and God among the godless.

Andrei Tarkovsky’s three hour epic, which premiered in 1966, offers a sweeping panorama of the turbulent and brutal 15th century with scenes of battle, famine and torture. The horrors perpetrated by the Tartars on the citizens who take refuge in a church are not easy viewing.

The main story is about a boy (a touching performance by Nikolai Burlyavev) who claims he can cast a giant bonze church bell – he says his dad taught him but he’s lying. Can he bring it off or will he and his workers be hanged?

The black and white film, which ends with Rublev’s icons in full colour, is rated by international critics amongst the world’s best films.

MUSTANG (Artificial Eye). I wonder what Turkish audiences thought of Turkish born Deniz Gamze Erguven’s film, which is highly critical of a society not living in the modern world. If you were a teenage girl today, believe me, you would not want to be living in a remote seaside village, 1,000k from Istanbul, where women are second class citizens with no rights whatsoever.

Five sisters, orphans, raised by their granny and uncle, are locked up and not allowed to leave the house, so frightened are their guardians that they will lose their virginity. One by one the girls are quickly married off against their will and when they rebel they are threatened with death. The youngest (Gumez Sensoy) proves to be the bravest.

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