The Fox Lorber "Nostalghia" disc is not exactly a disaster - it's an interlaced, non-anamorphic port of the old Criterion laserdisc, as I understand it. Despite those transfer issues, the color correction looks good, as do the contrast levels. The sound quality isn't anything to write home about, but it sure doesn't sound like it was derived from any "extremely crackly" element. The dynamic range is fairly wide too, with the distant "plop plops" of water drops coming through nicely, as does the sudden, shreiking, tape-stretching emergence of the choral "Ode to Joy" movement from the Ninth during the penultimate scene. Of course, if this is in fact a port of the CC-LD, then that audio track was authored many, many years ago. I certainly prefer Fox Lorber's ancient DVD to any of the Ruscicos.
Interesting news about a new "definitive" cut of "RUBLEV", but it strikes me as utterly out-of-the-blue. I'm no expert, but I've reviewed alot of Tarkovsky's comments, notes, and writings on "Rublev", and have found little mention of an additional cut, or note for an additional cut, or any post-hoc comments from Tarkovsky on what he would have done differently. There's that curious comment where he places his imprimatur on the Mosfilm edit, and cites to an initial "3 hours and 20 minutes" cut and a "three hours and 15 minutes" cut, both of which would shorter than the Criterion "Scorsese print" and longer than the Mosfilm edit:
"Nobody has ever cut anything from Andrei Rublov. Nobody except me. I made some cuts myself. In the first version the film was 3 hours 20 minutes long. In the second - 3 hours 15 minutes. I shortened the final version to 3 hours 6 minutes. I am convinced the latest version is the best, the most successful. And I only cut certain overly long scenes. The viewer doesn't even notice their absence. The cuts have in no way changed neither the subject matter nor what was for us important in the film. In other words, we removed overly long scenes which had no significance.
We shortened certain scenes of brutality in order to induce psychological shock in viewers rather than mere unpleasant impression which would only destroy our intent. All my friends and colleagues who during long discussions were advising me to make those cuts turned out right in the end. It took me some time to understand it. At first I got the impression they were attempting to pressure my creative individuality. Later I understood that this final version of the film more than fulfils my requirements for it. And I do not regret at all that the film has been shortened to its present length..."
But as this comment essentially authorizes the Mosfilm edit - which contains cuts that could in no way be attributable to Tarkovsky working in total freedom - I put very little value in it. The ultimate statement we have thusfar, so far as I'm concerned, is the 205 minute cut. The Mosfilm edit is easily shown to be a compromised cut, a conclusion many of us came to in that old "RusCiCo ANDREI RUBLEV... anyone???" thread on the defunct CriterionDVD forum way back in August 2001. Of course, I can only speak for myself, but I believe peerpee, Donald Brown, and possibly Jan also agreed. And I think I could make a strong case to anyone who still doubts that.