Sunday, September 19, 2010

THE MIRROR (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975, Soviet Union)

Childhood memories through the dark refraction of still waters, regrets and reflections upon a life passing away towards the unknown. Andrei Tarkovsky’s conceit becomes a universal human experience, shared emotions that run deep like roots into the damp earth of the soul, and exhale as a breath upon waves of grass, guilt burned away, an entropic elemental estuary that leads to salvation.

THE MIRROR is about nothing, a disassociated cinematic plot flowing like mercury poisonous yet beautiful, and yet it is about everything engendered in the human condition. Tarkovsky utilizes newsreel footage of the Great Patriotic War and places the characters in a historical context of displacement and dysfunction. Time becomes fluid as rainwater, a ubiquitous imagery that floods the narrative, seeping through the cracked reminiscence bringing both life and destruction. The film is not only a dying man’s dream, an honest illusory past but a mirror of spectatorship that actively involves the audience at an emotional and spiritual level, sublime and subjective, a participatory projection of introspection.

Tarkovsky’s clever structure becomes a surreal journey denying logical dramatic form, tripping through the looking glass and beyond the confines of cinematic compositions. An elegy that illuminates the dark night of our souls, life is always worth living. So live.

Final Grade: (A)

4 comments:

R. D. Finch said...

This is a fantastic movie that I discovered through the 70s countdown at Wonders in the Dark. Your writing style is especially well-suited to this film, with many phrases that evoke its approach to narration, but none better than this one: "The film is not only a dying man’s dream, an honest illusory past but a mirror of spectatorship that actively involves the audience at an emotional and spiritual level, sublime and subjective, a participatory projection of introspection." This film could easily have been a tedious, solipsistic mess. But its fractured structure not only works but, once you surrender yourself to it, actually presents little problem in following. It's one of those great one-of-a-kind movies that's all the better for ingnoring conventional narrative techniques, the work of a genius who applied literary stream-of-consciousness to film and not only managed to have it make sense, but really get under your skin. I've never seen anything quite like it, and you really captured its essence.

Alex DeLarge said...

Thank you! This is a film whose plot can't be recycled through descriptive prose; it needs to be experienced. The words just poured out of me and hope they inspire someone to make THE MIRROR a part of their life.

Juan Ramos said...

Very good post!
Mirror is a great movie because it shows us what (else) cinema can do.

Stephen said...

Beautifully written Alex.

I like how you make many good analytical points and observations with such creative language.

MIRROR is my favourite film by Tarkovsky and one of the my favourites full stop. It has a heart-stopping beauty and a deep mysterious and intangible atmosphere.