Images of Chaos

Images of chaos, disorder, and carnage resultant from clashes, skirmishes, persecutions, and wars permeate Andrei Tarkovsky’s films, confluent with the internal disorder carried by the men and women peopling his screens, and none more than Andrei Rublev.  Produced in 1966, this film tortures the viewer with a despair so intertwined with the film’s multiple tragedies that the viewer is left crying, almost as if his/her feet are the ones shown resting, barely out of the reaches of the fire, and it is the viewer who begs for some epiphanic eruption.

From the flames of the fire, the camera opens and travels along colored surfaces of various icons, finally panning Andrey Rublev’s “Trinity,” an icon representing Abraham’s supper with three angels representative of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Thunder and rain resound, and the camera ends with a pan across a set of grazing horses, immersed in a pouring rain.

An imagined chaos swirls naturally and permeates Tarkovsky’s panorama of Russian history—swells of rain, currents of water, fires, winds, mists, smokes, suffering—somehow stumbling and dissolving mankind.  It is this dissolution mankind must endure as the result of what sin determines metamorphosed into the richly imaged indeterminate which Tarkovsky captures so well.

Once Tarkovsky defeats his viewer with the cruelties of man against man and terrifies him/her with the busy and disparate encroachment of foe on friend, the viewer is instilled with momentary peace: a glimpse toward heaven shared with the three at supper, heads surrounded in uncreated light, and a rinse of rain, shared with a set of horses grazing toward night.

Don’t know what I am even talking about?  Watch the film and leave a comment.

Andrei Rublev Trailer:

Andrei Rublev Part One:

Andrei Rublev Part Two:


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