Plot Outline: The Jester

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  • Topic: Andrei Rublev, First Epistle to the Corinthians, Icon
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  • Published : October 15, 2012
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Andrei Rublev
Plot outline
Part I
[Prologue: flying]
The Jester (Summer 1400)
Andrei is still an assistant to Danil and, together with a third monk, Kirill, they are leaving one monastery to move to another. (Andrei seems most reluctant to move.) They take shelter from the rain in a crowded peasant hut, where a medieval Russian jester (skomorokh) performs. After the performance, which mocks the ruling aristocracy (the boyars), the jester is brutally seized by authorities and taken away. (Before this Kirill had suddenly disappeared—suggesting that he was the one who denounced the jester.) Theophanes the Greek (Summer Winter-Spring-Summer 1405-6)

Kirill goes to see the eccentric master icon painter Theophanes the Greek. (On his way he passes a public execution). At first Theophanes mistakes Kirill for Andrei Rublev, who is starting to become famous. After a brief philosophical discussion (the first reference to Ecclesiastes: “In great wisdom there is great sorrow, and he who increases his wisdom increases his pain”), Theophanes invites Kirill to be his assistant. At first Kirill refuses, but then says he will do it if Theophanes personally shows up at the monastery and invites him in front of Andrei and everyone else.

Back at the monastery, more Ecclesiastes (11:9, 12:1, 12:6-8, 12:11-13). A messenger arrives from Moscow: Theophanes wants Andrei to come work with him. Kirill leaves in a rage. Andrei parts from Danil with great difficulty.

Andrei is chastising his apprentice Foma, as they walk through a forest. Suddenly they run into Theophanes, an he and Andrei engage in the film’s central philosophical dispute. Theophanes insists that the Last Judgment is coming, and mankind will be punished (deservedly) for its sins. Andrei refuses to think this way, and instead, in an imagined sequence, he presents his own idiosyncratic, Russianized vision of Christ’s crucifixion (“The Passion According to Andrei”).

The Holiday (1408)...
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