Mirror ★★★★★

When I first saw Tarkovsky's much critically acclaimed, Mirror, I was living alone in the middle of Valencia, isolated, and at times struggling to cope with the pressures of adapting to a new, somewhat alien surrounding. Mirror became my coping strategy; watching it would both elevate me from personal conflictions and day-to-day problems. Most importantly perhaps, it enabled a personal evaluation through the idea that despite being an incredibly intricate and intimate outing, Tarkovsky forces the viewer to find themselves as well. In that respect, the title is extremely apt from a joint view.

The beauty and wonder that comes from a Tarkovsky film is the way in which he manages to inflict such a sense of poignancy in the moments and aspects of life that are often deemed as unimportant. Perhaps why Mirror is accredited and hailed as a masterpiece is because underneath the various political and socioeconomic layers, there remains true, quite unblemished beauty. The picturesque, quaint house in the woods could quite easily be a bland symbol, but through the quite remarkable way in which the natural world is combined with this translucent family life, we end up with something derivative of a man who had a pure, unabashed vision.

This isn't really a review, more a homage to the film, but a key point to watching this film is that each viewing remains incredibly personal. You also need to watch, watch and watch again where the film is concerned as there are so many inherently Tarkovsky elements, that you'll be unable to spot them all on the original viewing. It grows and grows and because of the general incoherency of plot, the images burn themselves into the consciousness, some haunting, disturbing, others pure, ethereal.

Possibly the finest piece of film Tarkovsky has ever created, certainly the most specific to his life, despite all his films deriving from personal views, Mirror is, not to sound cliched, an experience that transcends the idea of merely watching something on a screen. It imprints into the psyche and remains a complex, often divine, often eerie piece of art that defines his life, and yours thereafter.

I'll never forget seeing this film, and similarly how it worked as an agent to free me of personal demons. The immersion of the film and the way in which it forces you to plunge head-first into an area of foreign values just acted as a tasteful comparison to how I was feeling at the time. Why the anecdote I hear you ask? Simply, because it demonstrates how Mirror reflects your own life just as much as Mr. Tarkovsky himself.

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