there is always a way out by returning. The Mirror idealizes often brief but strong moment of a person's realization and self-connection, often by overhearing himself. Although sometimes compared to Tale of Tales, the film prides itself neither on neither nostalgia nor sentimentality.
Although one can accede (even appreciate) the cinematographic poetry of Tarkovksy’s composite diary entries, it is onerous to locate any depth behind the aesthetic once the smoke and “mirror”s dissipate and its concepts of memory becomes ephemeral. Granted, a dying epitaph cannot really be harrowed through cispersonal obfuscations of tediously meandering self-indulgence.
It is hardly a study of ones reconciliation, nor it examines anything of it's main characters. However, memories are fantastically organized in a series of sporadically remembered pictures and moments, slowly accelerating and then exhaling in a moment of death. Shown in a staggering arsenal of filming techniques and expressions, with an original use of narrator and old film reels.
Having just seen it on the big screen, The Mirror remains the one Tarkovsky film whose masterpiece status I'm not sold on. The psychodrama seems too obvious, the meditations too private, and the main arc a much less robust version of what Fellini/Bergman had done over a decade earlier, if a wilder sensory trip. But there's at least 4 stars worth of brilliant pieces, including perhaps Tarkovsky's best opening scene.
The mirror is even more interesting to watch, much like Nostalghia, with a Russian person. Both of these films have so much national personality and deal with memories of Russia. If you know a Russian, watch this film with them and see how an already beautiful piece of poetry takes on new meaning with national insight. You don't need a Russian to love Tarkovsky as an American, but it does bring a new dimension.
The Mirror is a mixed-media oral history on film, and the essence of cinema as memory. For those unfamiliar with the Soviet/Russian history at play, the emotional impact of the dreamy non-linear recollections still warrants multiple viewings. This is a very powerful movie.
A film not so much watched and understood in a traditional narrative as absorbed as a memory of a memory. Requires multiple viewings to make perfect sense of, but up until then serves as a fittingly beautiful vision from a gifted visionary of cinema. Tarkovsky was Malick before Malick became Malick. 4.5/5
There is no conventional order, but rather a free association of memories. One has to disregard keeping up with "plot" and appreciate this movie as a series of moments that are connected. The direction is beautifully done. I am just not sure if I would call it earth-shattering.