Mirror
 
 
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, Russia 1975
101 mins. Russian and Spanish dialogue with English sub-titles
 
Summary:
 

Loosely autobiographical, unconventionally structured and incorporating poems composed and read by the director's father, the film unfolds as an organic flow of memories recalled by a dying poet of key moments in his life both with respect to his immediate family - as well as that of the Russian people as a whole during the tumultuous events of the twentieth century. In an effort to represent these themes visually, the film combines contemporary scenes with childhood memories, dreams and newsreel footage. Its cinematography slips, often unpredictably, between colour, black-and-white and sepia.

The film's loose flow of stunning visually-oneiric shots, combined with its rich - and often symbolic - imagery has been compared with the stream of consciousness technique in modernist literature. Mirror initially polarised critics and audiences, with many considering its narrative to be incomprehensible. The work has grown in reputation since its release, and was highly-ranked on Sight & Sound's 2012 Critics' Poll of the best films ever made. It has also found favour with many Russians for whom it remains their most beloved of Tarkovsky's works.

 
What the Critics say:
 
"The smallest details (a stammering child, the wrinkle in the turned page of a book) stick like burrs, and we are left to wonder if any director has delved with more modesty and honesty into the heartbreak of the past."  (Anthony Lane - New Yorker)