Plumb Lines

May 11, 2009

Monday Movie Still: Andrei Rublev

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Schaengold @ 3:34 pm

This is the first frame of the film, more or less:


Andrei Rublev is the Man Without Qualities of film: highly regarded, vast and inaccessible (also the Russia of films?), and inspiring fanatical devotion among those who make it all the way through — perhaps they want to convince themselves that they haven’t wasted the time in which they could have watched three of Godard’s films. Some fans even up the ante and claim that the film is impossible to understand unless you’ve seen it four or five times, preferably in succession, without sleeping, on a stone floor, with only an Old Church Slavonic prayer-book for company.
This still adequately represents the film as a whole, both its aesthetic qualities and its plot. If you want to know what this vaguely menacing sack actually is, you’ll have to watch the film. Or at least the first five minutes.

David Schaengold



  1. This is the moment when I reveal I have never watched the film despite owning it.

    Comment by Michael E. van Landingham — May 11, 2009 @ 4:24 pm

  2. Watch the first vignette, at least! And the second-to-last.

    Comment by David Schaengold — May 11, 2009 @ 9:11 pm

  3. […] van Landingham @ 3:41 pm We’re not the type of blog to do film reviews. Sure, David reviews stills from the cinema, but that’s because he sees everything in such detail that a single movie […]

    Pingback by I Wish the Vatican Had Placed “Angels & Demons” under House Arrest « Plumb Lines — May 21, 2009 @ 3:41 pm

  4. I love this film. But it IS slow going, as are all of Tarkovsky’s movies. Yet, if I have the time and patience to give to them, the payoff from his films has been great. As Rublev is vignette based, it can be broken down into smaller pieced viewings.

    I admire Tarkovsky’s films for being in their own category; it is hard to find cinematic reference points, maybe Robert Bresson, Ozu if strectching? Even if the long, trance-like takes, mysterious water symbolism and disinterest in plot are things you can’t cope with, you have to bow to the amazing images.

    Comment by Tom — January 17, 2010 @ 7:52 pm

  5. I agree that it’s hard to compare Tarkovsky to anyone else. I don’t think Ozu is similar, though his films are also slow going. In Ozu the camera’s interest is always the characters and their relationships, though. One film that does come to mind as having a Tarkovskian scope is Rivette’s Belle Noiseuse.

    Comment by David Schaengold — January 18, 2010 @ 9:53 am

  6. This was probably the worst written review I have come across. The film was very good. I am not saying it is the best film ever, but it has a lot of good qualities and many people appreciate it whether you do or not. This type of off-the-cuff dismissal review usually means the author really missed something. He spends most of his time in the short review stating what OTHER people think. Did he even watch it? It was a good movie and I hate black and white movies much less with subtitles and I watched it quite intently. I did not waste my time in doing so.

    Comment by David Hallen — November 21, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

  7. I loved the film. And visually one of the very best ever made, surely. My comments about inaccessibility were meant as a precaution, not a condemnation. The Monday movie stills weren’t really reviews, just thoughts about a particular image from the movie.

    Comment by David Schaengold — November 21, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

  8. Further, what quality cinematic review is based solely as a critical attack towards fans of the movie, stereotyping and condescending without articulating an intelligent appraisal of the film at all. If someone so despises a film that they attack people who enjoy or find value in the film, then this last statement would have served as the review: I disliked this movie so much the people that defend it are fools” which is really all the person is stating. That’s not a quality film review and reading it was a greater waste of time than watching this very interesting film.

    Comment by David Hallen — November 21, 2010 @ 4:53 pm

  9. My apologies. Your comment appeared above my screen as I was typing and I did not see it. I just watched it the other evening so this short review did not strike me as your comment indicates. Your comment,if modified, would have clarified the review. I still think generalizing fans rather than focus on the movie is the wrong direction to go, but again–my apologies.

    Comment by David Hallen — November 21, 2010 @ 4:58 pm

  10. No worries. My post is indeed probably a bad introduction to the film if you’d never seen it before. I found it hard to say anything insightful about the film itself after a single viewing, so I was obliged to comment about its reputation. Hopefully the still spoke for the film, which is what I hoped.

    Comment by David Schaengold — November 21, 2010 @ 5:06 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: