Thursday, December 17, 2009
The Mirror : fragments of the past
Tarkovsky speaks about "The Mirror"
An enigmatic but alluring film which is unlikely to get the second view it deserves. The above link from the director's own mouth gives a string to start from and makes the director's intention more than crystal clear. As he explains, it is intended as a literal and completely authentic cinematic autobiography, extremely sentimental, emotional and nostalgic. Tarkovsky's mother along with her two children was abandoned by the father at an early age and the mother, who is the central figure in the film, brought them up in conditions of extreme deprivation, giving them a kind of education almost unconceivable under the circumstances. The father was a poet of depth whose poems are often quoted in his films, including this one. The father is projected in a positive light, and was always esteemed by the mother, such must have been the complexities of the situation. In any case the above linked explanation should be read by any one intending to see the movie as a minimal road map.
Again borrowing from the director's elucidation, the film is a collage of memory elements fused into a whole, a broken mirror assembled lovingly to capture and preserve what has ceased to exist .
About half way through, while enjoying the wistful imagery and the sound track ( he often uses classical music and some choral pieces of Bach are used to great effect, capturing the director's fundamentally religious orientation ), I was left virtually clueless about what was going on, except Wiki's assurance that it was about his own life and not intended to make sense as usually found, and not to seek a narrative chain. Anyway, I went through to the end, more for record's sake, as it were, and found myself more and more immersed in the mood of his memories. Tarkovsky's camera is ever wistfully evocative, and the mists of memory, as they are lifted, one after another, are charged with a kind of suppressed passion, bordering on a kind of religious fervor towards life itself.
If there is another occasion, it will certainly have more shape...