film

Old School Review: Solaris (1972)

Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky and co-written with Fridrikh Gorenshteyn, “Solaris” is a sci-fi film based off of the novel of the same name by Stanislav Lem. The opening of the film begins on Earth in a future where the Soviet Union (or Humanity in general) has achieved interstellar travel. Off in a faraway star system resides ‘Solaris’, the titular ocean planet, where an orbiting space station has been experiencing strange and mysterious phenomena. Our lead, the psychologist Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis), is briefed on what they know about the developing situation by cosmonaut Burton (Vladislav Dvorzhetsky), at Kelvin’s father’s home in the countryside. Once aboard the station Kelvin finds Dr. Gibarian (Sos Sargsyan) dead, while the other two scientists, Snaut (Jüri Järvet) and Sartorius (Anatoliy Solonitsyn), were distraught and deeply disturbed by the events unfolding on the space station.

“Solaris”, like all of Tarkovsky’s other films to some extent, is slow. Whether or not you have the patience to sit through the film’s very long shots, sometimes seemingly trying it’s very best to test your will to finish it, will inform your decision to attempt the film or not. While not the slowest pace among Tarkovsky’s films- there are several sequences that can test the rigor of any cinema-goer. Having spent the summer of 2017 getting acquainted with one of the last great American arthouse filmmakers in David Lynch’s third season of the series “Twin Peaks”, I’ve had time to digest the merit of slowness in cinema. I’m not always in the mood for such storytelling- but when I am there is hardly any greater filmmaker than Tarkovsky for such things. No one films the quiet humility of nature as he does, placing almost more emphasis on the environment than what’s happening within it.

It appears that when the station sent down X-rays to probe the planet for intelligent life, the planet responded to this by reflecting certain memories and perceptions of the remaining scientists’ minds into real physical forms. Kelvin is also quickly effected by the radiating phenomena as his dead wife Hari (Natalya Bondarchuk) materializes after his first night aboard the station. She is exactly as Kelvin remembers her, therefore she only has access to information that Kelvin would expect Hari to be aware of. At first he is bewildered by her presence as he expels his wife’s double into outer space in one of the escape pods. Another double of Hari appears a few hours later and Kelvin accepts this new Hari after awhile. She needs physical proximity to Kelvin’s brainwaves, and when left alone the clone punched through a steel door because she panicked and couldn’t figure out how to open the door manually. Now, that’s a bad case of monophobia!

Much like another sci-fi favorite of mine, “Blade Runner 2049”, this film debates the very notion of humanity. It asks what it means to be human, and whether or not you have to be born to be able to understand humans entirely. For Kelvin, it did not matter that this Hari was only a biological response to his literal proximity to an alien planet’s intelligence-aura. This recently formed aberration behaved as Hari would based on Kelvin’s memories of her, and the return of a departed loved one can be a powerful motivation, especially considering the circumstances of Hari’s death ten years prior. For Kelvin, this proved to be enough in the end.

After the space station goes through it’s scheduled weightlessness stage Doctors Snaut and Sartorius project Kelvin’s brainwaves towards Solaris. After awhile, the other doubles and “guests” disappear and Kelvin decides to go home. However he’s revealed to actually be on an exact copy of his father’s countryside home and estate as Solaris forms an island out of Kelvin’s memories. Now that’s a satisfactory ending!

Final Score: 2 scientists and 1 dead cosmonaut

Advertisements
film

Old School Review: Andrei Rublev (1966)

Written and directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, “Andrei Rublev” is a medieval Russian epic loosely based on the real life Christianity icon painter of the same name. The Guardian (publication) ranked this film as the number one art-house film of all time, and while this film is indeed a master work by a filmmaker with an uncompromising vision- it ultimately wasn’t one that worked for me. “Andrei Rublev” is, like most of Tarkovsky’s works, a very long film. At other times this hasn’t hampered my interest in his films, and I wasn’t wholly uninterested here, but this film moves to the beat of its own drum and if you’re not tuned to its frequency then it will leave you in the dust. Tarkovsky was not one to bend, or compromise, his artistic vision for anyone and while I respect this notion, it’s made his films difficult to recommend- I do, but with a handful of asterisks attached.  

andrei-rublev-balloon

The film opens with a man trying to fly in a makeshift hot air balloon. He and a small dedicated group are stoking the flames, tightening ropes, and generally rushing to prepare this experimental pursuit. As the initial man weaves his way up to the top of the church, an angry mob forms below and actively tries to stop the men from taking flight. At the last second the man we’ve been following entangles himself in ropes hanging from the balloon and slowly soars away. He laughs as he floats above the people- but quickly crashes to the ground moments later. This scene sets the mood for the rest of the film and hints at Tarkovsky’s attitude towards the creative process in general. A few misunderstood people set out to forge dreams into something palpable, the masses don’t quite understand it and then try to quash these attempts seen as blasphemous or against the normal accepted behavior within the major established community. These misunderstood people strive for something more despite this, even if it kills them. Tarkovsky himself has spoken about the prologue with the balloon before, stating that the man in the balloon is.. “The symbol of daring, in the sense that creation requires from man the complete offering of his being. Whether one wishes to fly before it has become possible, or cast a bell without having learned how to do it, or paint an icon – all these acts demand that, for the price of his creation, man should die, dissolve himself in his work, give himself entirely.

andrei-rublev

The film is separated into seven chapters in Andrei Rublev’s life, The Jester, Theophanes the Greek, The Holiday, The Last Judgement, The Raid, The Charity Winter, and The Bell. In the beginning Andrei (Anatoly Solonitsyn), Daniil (Nikolai Grinko) and Kirill (Ivan Lapikov) are three traveling monks looking for work as icon painters in the year 1400. Seeking shelter from a heavy rain, they enter a small barn full of local villagers being entertained by a jester whose sarcasm and bitter rebuke of the church and the state gets him arrested by nearby soldiers who knock him unconscious and smash his stringed instrument before carting him off. This scene in itself gets to the larger themes at hand, mainly the struggle of working as an artist under a repressive regime that cracks down on any and all dissidents. Openly exploring these ideas is most likely why it was shut down so quickly by the Soviet Union in the 1960’s.

andrei-rublev-1966-005-rublev-holding-paintings-00m-g9c

Throughout the rest of the film we get pieces of the icon painters life during different periods of his life, from his teachings under ‘Theophanes the Greek’ to his witnessing of a Tartar raid on the city of Vladimir. The Tartar raid was one of my favorite sequences in the film, partly because it showcased the madness of living at the time but also because it had some of the most active action and cinematography of the whole film. Oh and horses, Tarkovsky loves his horse imagery in film, and he uses them to great effect here. From a man being dragged by horse through a chaotic scene inside the church to the general chaos of soldier-less horses navigating wooden staircases, to their aimless wandering amongst the scenery; Tarkovsky made some unique choices here as a director that elevated the immersion for me throughout this scene. In fact, this whole sequence has essentially the only direct action that Rublev takes as a character in the whole of the film- he saves an uneducated woman from the clutches of a Tartar soldier, and even this happens just outside of the frame so that we are clued into this uncharacteristic burst of character action. Which is all well and good, but brace yourself for the return of inactivity and passivity as our main character goes on a vow of silence for a majority of the remainder of the film. 

Rublev11-1366x768

For me, “Andrei Rublev” is the least engaging film of Tarkovsky’s that I’ve seen thus far (Only “The Sacrifice” and “Nostalghia” remain), but this could be the result of many factors. At this point my favorite Tarkovsky films have been “Stalker” and “Solaris”, and I think it’s because in those films Tarkovsky uses science fiction to pose long and thoughtful debates about philosophical ideas with characters that hold well defined positions. In Rublev, Tarkovsky is more experimental, relies less on dialogue, and created a story that’s heavily steeped in Russian history- a subject with which I am terribly unfamiliar with. Which isn’t to say that any of this is bad or that the film deserves marks against it- it’s just what contributed to my personal lack of fascination with the film. Even the cinematography on display in Rublev lacks the tactile and dreamlike composure that was present in “Ivan’s Childhood” and later used to great effect in “Stalker” and “The Mirror” in particular. This may just be a film that I need to digest further and give another viewing or two to really immerse myself in the story at hand and the execution of that plot on display.

Final Score: 1 Bitter Jester & 3 Monks

film

Famous Filmmakers’ Firsts: Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Ivan’s Childhood” (1962)

*This film came out in 1962, so obviously, spoilers will be involved in this review*

Written by Mikhail Papava and directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, “Ivan’s Childhood” is an adaption of Vladimir Bogomolov’s 1957 short story “Ivan” which follows an orphaned twelve year old Russian boy that scouts for the Russian Army on the front lines of the German invasion. This is the most straightforward narrative I’ve seen from Tarkovsky as I haphazardly serpentine through his filmography, it’s also one of his shorter films coming in at a brisk hour and thirty-four minutes. From the beginning dream sequence Tarkovsky is already playing with the surreal nature of dreams that would later become a pillar of his stylistic choices in his grander and more iconic films like “Stalker” and “The Mirror”. In it Ivan, ‘the carefree child’ (Nikolai Burlyaev), observes a spiderweb on a tree branch and a butterfly taking flight, after which he too soars through the air laughing, full of wonder. It doesn’t last long however and we’re soon introduced to Ivan ‘the soldier’ in a violent awakening. He’d been camped out in a dark and decaying windmill and soon wades through a murky swamp shrouded by trees and flares in the distance. The title credits begin to roll and the brooding bleak mood of the film sets in.

IVAN'S CHILDHOOD

Tarkovsky’s first film steeps us in the director’s philosophy of nature being a respite from the burdens of reality, and his utter despise of war- which is why he pursued the idea of having a war film seen through the eyes of a child, as it was the furthest juxtaposition from war. Ivan makes his way into the Russian military encampment and demands to make contact with high ranking officials. The Lieutenant there, Galtsev (Evgeny Zharikov)- himself a young man no older than twenty-five, makes the call despite his suspicions. Lt. Col. Gryaznov (Nikolai Grinko) answers and corroborates Ivan’s story. The boy had been a scout for their military on an earlier mission across the river and behind enemy lines. From there the film follows Ivan’s determined quest for revenge, refusing to be shipped off to military school or a children’s home, making extra work for the officers taking care of him- though they do genuinely seem to admire the boy.

ivans-childhood-02

The story also follows a romantic side plot involving a love-triangle of sorts. Galtsev seems to have an unspoken admiration for one of the female military nurses, Masha (Valentina Malyavina). Captain Kholin (Valentin Zubkov) also takes a liking to the quietly defiant field nurse and aggressively pursues her in the birch-wood forest. I was wary of this scene as it was happening, fearing a rape scenario, but luckily it never goes that far. We get the infamous image of Capt. Kholin holding Masha over a trench and kissing her as she reluctantly goes along, but I believe this is simply a case where the scene at hand just hasn’t aged very well, though it doesn’t appear to have malevolent intent as initially assumed. It is, simply put, a product of it’s time.

la infancia de ivan3

The most fascinating aspects of the film for me though are Ivan’s dream sequences. There are four in the film, the opening scene with the butterfly being the first. The next dream sequence comes after Ivan has met Galtsev, been washed and fed, and finally when he can no longer stay conscious enough to keep up his tough guy bravado he falls into a slumber in which we get a brief look into his core philosophy of being. In it the camera flows freely, which is already a visual indicator that we’re in dream territory as the camera is always poised and precise when Ivan is awake. It floats along to a fire of white birch wood before panning back to a bucket near Ivan’s hand laying off the bed as water drips on it. This provokes the camera to tilt upward as if he were at the bottom of a well. Ivan then reappears with his mother, peering over the edge from above and Ivan’s mother tells him something along the lines of “The brightest stars shine best in the blackest of nights.” Ivan tries to reach into the water’s reflection to grab the star and then, after a cut, lies at the bottom of the well again. We quickly see a bucket fall down towards Ivan as he screams for his mother but before we see the bucket fall into the water we cut again to see his mother’s dead body next to the well being splashed with the water from the bottom of the well. This scene is the epitome of why I am fascinated with Tarkovsky’s films. How he uses space and dream logic is endlessly fascinating to me. Reality becomes distorted and spatial relationships are in a state of confusion. Yet all while we’re getting pertinent character information about Ivan and why he is so motivated get revenge.

ivans5

The third scene, which is possibly the most strange, depicts Ivan and his sister riding upon a cart filled with apples in a pouring thunderstorm. Here Ivan smiles, he only does this in his dreams, while being surrounded by an abundance of food and family. We see what feels like a camera pan past his sister’s face three times, but only she is moving from right to left within the frame, and she’s completely dry (even in the rain) the third time she passes by. The dream ends as the cart continues to ride off the path and onto a beach leaving a trail of apples. The camera slows and lets the cart fade away as we focus on wild horses feasting on the spilled fruit in the foreground. The final dream sequence connects all to the three previous ones all while poetically reinforcing the idea that Ivan never had a real childhood during his life, it only existed in his dreams. After the audience learns that Ivan’s final mission scouting across the river with Galtsev and Kohlin ended with his death, the dream sequence gives us an abstract and symbolic send off. I believe this scene begins from Galtsev’s perspective during his frantic retrieval of Ivan’s death documents when raiding a German stronghold in Berlin after the fall of the third Reich months later. After he discovers that Ivan had been captured and hung Galtsev runs to another room where he sees wire nooses hung from railings and the camera begins to spin out of control and we see Ivan’s, presumed, dead body rolling along the floor before a hard cut. From a low angle we see Ivan’s mother smiling down at him and he smiles back, now on the beach from the third dream. He rises, shirtless and drinking from the bucket in the second dream, as his mother picks up the bucket and walking back into the water as she waves goodbye to him. Ivan then goes and plays with other children on the beach, it looks like a game of hide-and-go-seek, and he goes to a lone burnt, dead, tree standing in the sand and counts as the other children leave the frame. Even the tree bookends the film visually from the opening dream sequence. When Ivan returns he only finds his sister, and the remainder of the scene is the two of them running wildly into the shallow waters of the ocean laughing heartily- before a hard cut to black ending the film.

tree

This film was the beginning of Tarkovsky’s film career, and in it you can see the rumblings of a unique cinematic voice forming. While the plot and action of the film are thinner and slower than most, this movie is a good indicator for whether or not you will enjoy the infamous Russian filmmaker’s style. If the abstract sequences turned you off from the story the film was telling, then I must say, you probably won’t enjoy his later works. I approach Tarkovsky’s films with the same mentality that I bring into museums. His films seem to be more akin to seeing visually arresting artwork that plays with the fabric of reality and bends it to whichever way the story feels it should take. It is more about the mood that the images evoke from you than the initial meaning of each scene or the momentum of the story beats.

Final Score: 4 dreams and 1 war

film

Old School Review: Stalker (1979)

 (As this film is more than thirty-five years old, there will be spoilers. You have been warned)

Written and directed by Andrei Tarkovsky with screenwriting cowriters Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, who also wrote the novella “Roadside Picnic” on which the film is based upon, “Stalker” is the final film that Tarkovsky made under the banner of the Soviet Union. It’s quite the meditative quest with dashes of science fiction amid the philosophical and theological musings that the three main characters debate about throughout their journey. In this indiscernible future of a post apocalyptic scenario there lives a Stalker (Aleksandr Kaydanovskiy), the main characters of the film are known only to us through their occupations, a man that specializes in the freelance guiding of various clientele into the mysterious and dangerous “Zone”. The Zone is an uninhabitable area near the cityscape that the remainders of humanity avoid, the heavily armed military guards the entrances to the Zone and stalkers must navigate past them in secret to gain access to the untouched land. Although nobody seems to know the truth of its origin, the urban myth surrounding the Zone cites a meteor that crash landed near there causing chaos decades earlier. Curiously the military sent in brigades of soldiers and armament to investigate the situation and were never heard from again. Hence the containment of the dangerous area. This time around the Stalker plans to transport two men, The Professor (Nikolay Grinko) and The Writer (Anatoliy Solonitsyn) into the Zone.

a3

So, you might ask, “Why would people want to go to the Zone if it’s so notoriously dangerous?” Well, word has it that within the Zone there lies a structure forgotten to the world, decaying and deteriorated, yet within that old building lies a specific room that supposedly grants the deepest desires of all who dare to enter. The Professor wants to win the Nobel prize while the Writer has lost his inspiration and wants to rid himself of his writer’s block.

As the journey goes along, and it is a journey- a slow one at that, the film is full of incredibly long takes and shots of the three characters traversing the dangerous cityscapes, the railroads leading out of town, and the vast and green wilderness of the Zone. Anyways, as they travel about the Writer and the Professor wax poetic and casually lob sardonic insults at each other and their proposed fields of work while the Stalker constantly checks the landscape for danger. Much of the film inserts a mysterious tension brilliantly played on by Tarkovsky by alluding to the Zone as a nonlinear force, traps can ensnare unknowing people that traverse blindly into the tall grass, and the Stalker talks of the Zone as something that is in constant flux. Traps that used to exist are now safe paths while other routes that had been impassable before become the only ways through. He evens goes so far as to say that people bring these changes with them as they enter, its not that the Zone is actually changing at all, but that it is shaped by the intentions and thought patterns of those who enter it.

147

At nearly three hours, this is a beast of a film to get through if you’re an impatient viewer. There are no real actions sequences here friend, this is a different sort of film where a calm imagination and an adoration for dreamy visuals will do you some good. It’s also notorious for it’s incredibly long takes, “The film contains 142 shots in 163 minutes, with an average shot length of more than one minute and many shots lasting for more than four minutes.” While there are definite allusions to theological yearnings, I feel that this is a film where, much like the Zone itself, you bring most reflections of who you are to your understanding of the film and it’s story. I can understand where someone might see that the Stalker’s pains at the end of the film could be an expression of Tarkovsky’s feelings on a world without religion and hope, without people that believe in something greater than themselves. Though for myself it felt more along the lines of an allegory for the allure and humility of mystery versus the arrogance of believing that you know how the world works and that there are no such mysteries left to be discovered. There is some overlap in the ideas in a macro sense, but that’s just what I felt from my viewing of the film.

stalker3

The production of the film sounds like a disaster three times over if you know the details. Tarkovsky shot the entirety of the film on three separate occasions. The first failure was due to a Russian film studio not properly converting the film’s stock as Tarkovsky used a brand and type of film that they weren’t fluent in. I believe the second effort was mostly due to shooting location concerns and the hurdles of laws under the pressure from the Soviet Union’s specific requirements of art during that time. Over the course of the production they shot an alarming amount of footage, “..consuming over 5,000 metres (16,000 ft) of film.” There’s also the fact that this was the last film Tarkovsky made before leaving the Soviet Union, and through the main character of the Stalker we can see Tarkovsky’s torment over the notion of wanting to leave. To create, and live, more freely, or to stay with what he knows. Stalker even says that back home in the sepia tones of the city (versus the color footage of the Zone), he feels as though he is incarcerated throughout his everyday life. “Almost all the dreams recorded by Tarkovsky in the period 1974–77 seem to have been about being in prison—in one case, being in prison, escaping, and wanting to get back into jail again: 

     ‘At last, to my joy, I saw the entrance to the prison, which I recognized by the bas-relief emblem of the USSR. I was worried about how I was going to be received, but that was as nothing compared with the horror of being out of prison’ .”

Getting even more meta about the topics in play, in the film the Writer and the Professor never even enter the room once they finally reach it, for the Stalker has warned of what happened to his former mentor, another stalker nicknamed Porcupine. Our main stalker tells us that while stalkers are forbidden from entering the room, Porcupine eventually did so after the death of his brother. He went and asked to reverse his brother’s death- but the room saw through to his subconscious desire to be wealthy and instead granted him wealth beyond reason. Porcupine hanged himself a week after this. Another analysis dives into this theory of deeper hidden desires within Tarkovsky about wanting to leave Russia. “Stalker at some level (pos­sibly even at the level of “deepest desire”) is about the wish to leave Russia for good: the first twenty min­utes enact a very recognizable Cold War fantasy of breaking through bar­riers. At the same time, there is the corresponding feeling that it would be impossible, and actually wrong, to do this. Thus, all the time that Tarkovsky was fretting against the “unbearable restraints” of the socialist bureaucracy he was fated to serve (and thinking that, perhaps, there might be a way out—for example, by accepting the invitation to come to Italy that had been sent by his friend Tonino Guerra), he was also “digging in,” preparing to stay.

stalker_2

Allegories and musings aside, this is a very beautiful film to watch. If you are a viewer more inclined towards the visual arts over dialogue and actions in your storytelling, then this film may have something for you. Since my viewing of another Tarkovsky film in “The Mirror”, I’ve come to notice that the Russian filmmaker has a unique tendency to fill the screen with the natural world with a specifically unique voice. You might get the feeling that Tarkovsky himself was more at home in the forests and fields of Estonia rather than the bustling streets of Moscow. Though, he may have unintentionally sealed his, and other crew members’, fate while shooting on location for this film; “Several people involved in the film production, including Tarkovsky, died from causes that some crew members attributed to the film’s long shooting schedule in toxic locations. Sound designer Vladimir Sharun recalled:

We were shooting near Tallinn in the area around the small river Jägala with a half-functioning hydroelectric station. Up the river was a chemical plant and it poured out poisonous liquids downstream. There is even this shot in Stalker: snow falling in the summer and white foam floating down the river. In fact it was some horrible poison. Many women in our crew got allergic reactions on their faces. Tarkovsky died from cancer of the right bronchial tube. And Tolya Solonitsyn too. That it was all connected to the location shooting for Stalker became clear to me when Larisa Tarkovskaya died from the same illness in Paris‘ .”

This definitely falls more on the art-house side of cinema, but I think it’s good to constantly challenge your palate when it comes to the films you watch. How would you ever know whether or not you would enjoy a film such as this if you never give it the opportunity to challenge your assumptions? Stride towards a greater variety of art in every direction, besides, its more fun that way!

Final Score: 2 Elitists, 1 Stalker

(sources) The quotes I have inserted into this review came from these three articles on the film and I found them to be quite interesting, click the links and give them a look!:

https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/10/7/16418780/movie-of-week-stalker-tarkovsky-blade-runner

https://www.criterion.com/current/posts/4739-stalker-meaning-and-making

http://sensesofcinema.com/2013/cteq/stalker/

film

Old School Review: The Mirror (1975)

Written by Andrei Tarkovsky and Aleksandr Misharin and directed by Tarkovsky in 1975, “The Mirror” is a hell of a head trip if you haven’t ever heard of the Russian filmmaker and dived headfirst into this film without any context like I did. The other day I was looking through the Filmstruck catalog and decided to look into more foreign films, it’s an area of storytelling that I’m rather lacking in to be honest, and found Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. Skimming through his seven feature films I noticed “Solaris”, perhaps remembering the title from somewhere or sometime-but instead opted for “The Mirror” as it was an hour shorter. Ironically in an effort to save time I chose a film that required roughly two hours of light research and article skimming to understand.

Tar100MIRROR

“The Mirror” is an intensely personal film for Tarkovsky. The film is part autobiography, part fiction, and part pure visual storytelling. This film is very abstract. It plays with time, reality, and scenes sometimes play out in black and white, other times in sepia-tone, and sometimes just in plain old color. The film is told through three separate timelines, pre-war, war-time, and post-war in Russia with many sequences being directly lifted from the filmmaker’s life. Fleeing Moscow to live with relatives in the countryside in his youth was a big part of the pre-war phase. Tarkovsky’s father was a well known poet, and you can most definitely see that influence. There are many slow and meditative shots revealing nature and people intermingling, like in one of the opening scenes where the Doctor who asked for directions gazes back towards Tarkovsky’s mothers’ house in the countryside as wind sweeps and bellows along the fields of buck wheat that Tarkovsky had planted for the film. The main character-whose face remains unseen throughout the film and is to be a reflection of Tarkovsy himself- narrates from off-screen throughout many sequences, although there are a few narrations weaved into the film where Tarkovsky’s father recites his own poetry over select scenes.

Poetic-Harmony-The-Mirror

Tarkovsky here has essentially made a stream of consciousness film. It is about a man reflecting on his life as he lay dying from illness, and in that way you can absorb and view these scenes from this character’s perspective. Even though we are never properly introduced to the character we know him deeply by the time we see him caressing a bird before letting it fly away near the end of the film. What makes the film hard to digest on first viewing, besides it’s incredibly nonlinear narrative and plot structure, is that Tarkovsky had cast two actors to play two different roles. Margarita Terekhova plays Natalia, the ex-wife of the adult Aleksei (Tarakovsky’s representation of himself) and Aleksei’s Mother, Maria, in the pre-war era as well. On top of that Maria also goes by Masha or Marusya at times. The child actor, Ignat Daniltsev, plays the 12 year old Aleksei and also Aleksei’s son Ignat later in the post-war era as well. There’s also the fact that Tarkovsky inserts real newsreel footage of wartime with Russia, China and Germany depicting border spats with China and immensely crowded walkways and protests and other more mundane footage of Russian soldiers moving large floating structures piled high with perishables and goods through ankle high water with no destination in sight.

a13577-3

In my mild research of the film I came across a sentiment that perfectly said what I could not in how to approach this film, I have a link to the website at the bottom of the review if this has piqued your interest for more information about “The Mirror”, “I realised that the best approach when watching this film is a simple one. To not try to dissect what each scene means per say but to try to understand the underlying themes of the film which involve adolescent love, pain, abandonment and emotional trauma“(http://www.classicartfilms.com/mirror-the-1975). This was an interesting departure from what I normally view and I encourage others to go and watch something that you know you wouldn’t normally choose, it’s good to get a different perspective. “The Mirror” was captivating in a few ways for me personally, but this is definitely not a film that will fit everyone’s tastes. The director knew that when making the film. He cared not for the box office predictions or numbers, not for the critical response that he would receive good or bad, he just created, and that is something that I can appreciate. However if you viewed this film and still have no idea what was even going on, fret not, for even Tarkovsky himself wasn’t entirely sure of the purpose or meaning of some scenes, “There are many complications there which I don’t even completely understand myself. For example, it was very important for me to have my mother in some scenes. There is one episode in the film in which the boy, Ignat, is sitting…not Ignat…what was his name?…the author’s son, he is sitting in his father’s empty room, in the present, in our times….And as he is sitting there we hear the doorbell, he opens the door. This is my mother. And she is the grandmother of this boy who opens the door for her. But why doesn’t she recognise him, why doesn’t the grandson recognize her?…one has completely no idea. That is…firstly, this wasn’t explained by the plot, in the screenplay, and secondly…even for me this was unclear.” (http://www.classicartfilms.com/mirror-the-1975)

0L7Hz0slTgkIhXEtg

Final Score: The Dreams, Past, & Future of 1 man

*For more analysis check out this site below, it helped me immensely in sorting out the film’s themes and ideas in play:

http://www.classicartfilms.com/mirror-the-1975