The Magic Lantern

Hosted ByEricca Long and Cole Roulain

Exploring the films we love and the things we love about them.

The Magic Lantern: Episode 098 – Andrei Rublev

This is a very special episode for us. For the first time, we are discussing a film that is a patron’s choice! Ian Buckley is our first Patreon supporter to pledge at our top tier. As a result, it was his prerogative to program an entire episode of The Magic Lantern. He chose what we would discuss and his viewing recommendation is included with ours and, I must say, he was not fooling around. He selected Andrei Rublev (Tarkovsky, 1966).

This marks our first foray into Russian cinema for the podcast and we couldn’t have chosen a better film ourselves to christen that part of the world. Andrei Rublev is arguably the greatest arthouse film ever made. This was both an intimidating and thrilling film to take on. It has the immense historical sweep of an epic, but simultaneously deals with the most eternal and perplexing questions about the interior life of the artist. 15th century Russia was not exactly a cakewalk. I can’t imagine trying to balance a subsistence existence with such lofty philosophical aspirations. Faith and artistic ability don’t keep the wolves or Tatars from the door. How does the artist survive, much less thrive? How does the penitent monk best serve his fellow man? Can you rekindle the passion for creating once you’ve lost it? We do our best to tackle all these questions and considerably more in this episode. Thanks again to Ian for giving us this opportunity to take up such a challenge.

What you’ll find in this episode: lofty pursuits, lowly peasants, crises of faith, political treachery, patrons and patronage, and the secret of casting a bell.

– Cole

Links and Recommendations:
Check out Andrei Rublev on IMDB.
Ian’s further viewing pick of The Passion of Joan of Arc.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of Solaris.
Cole’s further viewing pick of The Mill and the Cross.
A gallery of fifty-eight of Rublev’s artworks.
A brief overview of life in 15th century Russia.

2 comments on The Magic Lantern: Episode 098 – Andrei Rublev

  1. FictionIsntReal says:

    The first Tarkovsky film I ever watched was Stalker (I had a Russian classmate in college who had that on his computer), which I thought was a letdown after all the hype I had read. Same deal with Solaris (although it’s not as different from the book as Stanislaw Lem’s complaints might indicate). It seems I just don’t like his scifi, because Andrei Rublev absolutely hit the spot (and Ivan’s Childhood was quite good as well, although The Mirror seemed intended only for Tarkovsky himself).

  2. Cole Roulain says:

    I know how you feel about some of those titles. I have had similar experiences with other films where I just wasn’t ready at the time or it just wasn’t on my wavelength. Historical epic versus sci-fi can be a vast gulf, even in the same artist’s body of work. Mirror really hits home for me, though.

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