Sunday, December 02, 2007

Зеркало – Zerkalo (The Mirror)


Like some say between Solaris and Stalker Andrei Tarkovsky made Mirror a film that not only is his masterpiece –magnum opus- but is one of the high points in the development of modern cinema. A non-narrative, stream of consciousness autobiographical film-poem that blends scenes of childhood memory with newsreel footage and contemporary scenes examining the narrator’s relationships with his mother, his ex-wife and his son.

Think that the key word for this movie is Poetry. Besides having poems from his real life father, famous poet Arseni Tarkovsky the film is like a poem with oneiric intensity scenes like those from the childhood that are truly hypnotic. You’re mesmerized by a series of images, one after the other that move in time forward and backward and by the time you realize that there is no narrative you are totally taken by all the poetry in each carefully built frame. Amazing!

But have to say that its complex yet simultaneously simple structure makes this film complex and very personal –according to what I read. There is a very interesting interview with Tarkovsky from March 1985 where he talks about this movie and many other things. Here is an excerpt from that interview:

“You are asking: what kind of mirror is it? Well, first of all — this film was based on my own screenplay containing no invented episodes. All the episodes were really part of our family history. All of them, without exception. The only made up episode is the illness of the narrator, the author (whom we do not see on the screen). By the way, this very interesting episode was necessary in order to convey the author's spiritual crisis, the state of his soul. Perhaps he is mortally ill and perhaps this is the reason for the recollections that make up the film — as with a man who remembers the most important moments of his life before he dies. So this is not a simple violence done by the author to his memory — I remember only what I want — no, these are recollections of a dying man, weighing in his conscience the episodes he recalls. Thus the only invented episode turns out to be a necessary prerequisite for other, completely true recollections.”

If you feel like reading the complete interview go here. This site is also an interesting resource to learn about this great director.

Innokenty Smoktunovsky provides the voice of the unseen narrator, Margarita Terekhova plays both his mother and wife and Arseni Tarkovsky reads his poems. But this movie is not about performances, which are good, is a movie about outstandingly breathtaking images.

A must be seen by all that enjoy serious cinema with non-narrative structure that has been compared to “stream of consciousness” technique in literature.

Big Enjoy!!!

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