Sunday 22 April 2018 3.15am
The Mirror 1975
An Andrei Tarkovsky Film
I pretty much have no idea what’s going on in this film. I have to admit that I thought it might turn out to be a film that connected the dots, or at least had a premise, a problem, a solution and a climax.
The Mirror felt a lot like a 1960-1967 Jean-Luc Godard film, but far less interesting. With my (previous) opinion of Godard that’s saying something.
It was like trying to read a Saul Bellow book or Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man or anything stream-of-conscious. But, I wasn’t bored. Not at all. The images and the situations were going to take me to a resolution that would explain the previous 99-minutes.
The only thing that clued me into thinking anything with an inkling about where the film had set its goals was the fact that in the opening titles a separate credit was given for poems to another Tarkovsky, who wasn’t Andrei. And the narration credit.
This is where I have to fall-on-my-sword and admit that knowing nothing about a film before seeing it, is not always – 100% of the time – a good thing. I entered the world of The Mirror and thought I was going somewhere:
I thought it was heading to a particular place which the film had no intention of taking me.
At the end – you can nearly always pick the last shot in a film (before the credits or FIN) – I’d experienced some very interesting observations about life, and taken in fragmented memories about someone growing up in someone’s family. The disjointed sequences and the seemingly unrelated scenes were like a carefully constructed film about the fragmented nature of a dream of one’s childhood, but then, even the dream’s own relativity – to itself – fell apart, beyond my comprehension.
I have no idea what The Mirror is about (except for *). I’m sure a second viewing will give me more of a hint. I feel like I’m in the same situation as when I watched Solaris for the first and only time, where I would fall asleep for ten or fifteen minutes here and there, wake up, watch a bit and feel like I hadn’t missed a thing because I was still as baffled as at any previous point of being jolted awake – by a muscle that had also fallen asleep – from my sleep as I was after the first twenty minutes – which I suspected would have been the case if I’d been awake through the entire watching-the-film experience.
[* the film is autobiographical, to some degree, I deduce. It has poetry by someone (credited) other than the director. Maybe a brother or parent? It tells two – fragmented but related – stories. One showing a boy in the ‘now’ and one showing the boy’s father in the ‘past’. The mother in the now looks a lot like the mother of her (former) husband as we see her in the ‘past’. There’s other very strange scenes like the first scene in Andrei Rublev (with the balloon) and the doctor who misses his turn-off and comes across the woman (the main character). He then asks her for a screwdriver to unlock his medical bag because he forgot the key.]
I remain bemused and have a feeling that to have any understanding of anything in this film I should have done some research prior to pressing PLAY.