With his second feature, a towering epic that took him years to complete, Andrei Tarkovsky waded deep into the past and emerged with a visionary masterwork. Threading together several self-contained episodes, the filmmaker traces the renowned icon painter Andrei Rublev through the harsh realities of fifteenth-century Russian life, vividly conjuring the dark and otherworldly atmosphere of the age: a primitive hot-air balloon takes to the sky, snow falls inside an unfinished church, naked pagans celebrate the midsummer solstice, a young man oversees the casting of a gigantic bell. Appearing here in Tarkovsky’s preferred 183-minute cut, as well as the version that was originally censored by Soviet authorities, Andrei Rublev is an arresting meditation on art, faith, and endurance, and a powerful reflection on expressive constraints in the director’s own time.
With his lush and sensual visuals, pitch-perfect soundtracks, and soulful romanticism, Wong Kar Wai has established himself as one of the defining auteurs of contemporary cinema.
Four charming comedies from Eric Rohmer.
Melvin Van Peebles’s edgy, angsty, romantic first feature could never have been made in America. Unable to break into a segregated Hollywood, Van Peebles decamped to France, taught himself the language, and wrote a number of books in French, one of which, La permission, would become his stylistically innovative feature debut.
Melvin Van Peebles
DCP, Blu-ray, DVD
A triumph at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival, the revelatory debut feature from codirectors (and twin brothers) Arie and Chuko Esiri is a heartrending and hopeful portrait of everyday human endurance in Lagos, Nigeria.