The Andrei Tarkovsky retrospective brought to local screens by Spazju Kreattiv comes to an end today with the Russian master’s Andrei Rublev.

The film is a biography of sorts, as Andrei Rublev was a 15th-century monk regarded as Russia’s most esteemed icon writer. While his work is well known and celebrated throughout Russia, little is known of his life except for the handful of icons he left behind. Tarkovsky’s invented life for Rublev is not quite an investigation into the author’s life but a response to what Tarkovsky saw and felt by looking and meditating on Rublev’s icons.

Through Andrei Rublev, Tarkovsky created a film about faith in a time when there were no films about religion, apart from satire or anti-religion propaganda. It does not flinch from portraying the savagery of the time – the sack of Vladimir, the casting of the bell, the pagan ceremonies of St John’s Night and the Russian crucifixion – set-pieces from which, almost inexplicably, the serenity of Rublev’s art arose.

The film is being screened as part of the Sculpting Time: Andrei Tarkovsky Retrospective remastered in new digital prints.

Tarkovsky (1932-1986) firmly positioned himself as the finest Soviet director of the post-War period with his influence extending well beyond the Soviet Union.

The seminal Cahiers du cinéma consistently ranked his films on their top 10 annual lists. Famed Swedish director Ingmar Bergman went so far as to say: “Tarkovsky for me is the greatest [director], the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream.”

Renowned Japanese director Akira Kurosawa said: “I love all of Tarkovsky’s films. I love his personality and all his works. Every cut from his films is a marvellous image in itself.”

Shot between 1962 and 1986, Tarkovsky’s seven feature films often grapple with metaphysical and spiritual themes, using a distinctive cinematic style featuring long takes, slow pacing and metaphorical imagery.

The Tarkovsky screenings in Malta are an off-shoot of a major retrospective on the celebrated auteur currently touring a number of cinemas across the UK.

 

■ Andrei Rublev is being screened tonight at St James Cavalier in Valletta at 7pm. It will also  be shown on March 25 at the Citadel Cinema in Victoria. The film is in Tatar, Italian and Russian with English subtitles and carries a 15+ classification. For more information, visit www.kreattivita.org.

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