Mirror ★★★★

Exploring Europe Film 9

It has been a few days now from I watched this, and I wanted time to think about what I had just watched. This is my second Tarkovsky film with the other being Stalker, and I do not know much about Tarkovsky personally, but I can see this film has a great level of personal feeling in it. I did some research, and read stuff on the films meaning, and with my own experience what I know is it was unique.

As soon as "The Mirror" starts it puts you in a trance. The story is told in an unconventional manner, swapping from a pre-war period, childhood, news-reel footage and a post-war period in Russia of this 40 year old man's life. Tarkovsky gives us hints to help us understand the narrative, such as a poster of his most well-known film "Andrei Rublev" which was made in 1965, letting us know we are at that date at least. Another big helper is the use of blak and white and colour to differentiate time.

The allegory and themes of this film are huge in scope, and will take me many future viewings to understand fully and appreciate. The film encompasses political statements, but for me what struck me the most was how it captured the human mind and memory. Critics have cited the film as being Oneiric which is definitely how I feel about it. The dream sequences are surreal and something to be deconstructed alone.

As this 40 year old man narrates, the film looks at the stream of consciousness and memory. Like this film, the way we remember things is not in a chronological order. We often jump from one memory to another, sometimes backwards, sometimes forwards. In that respect this film shows this well. Several of the slow-moving tracking shots help achieve this unique atmosphere, and make the entire film a hypnotic experience.

My favourite scene was with the children target practicing. The way all of it was done was fantastic, and (no spoilers) the moment with the grenade had me holding my breath. Overall for me, it was at times confusing and a little uninteresting, but I still found this to truly mesmerising film, unique in its vision and style and will have me re-watching.

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