The Mirror is Andrei Tarkovsky’s beloved project, one he (seems to have) wanted to make for a long time (it remained his favourite movie, and closest to his concept of cinema). The film uses numerous techniques to render a life, including the juxtaposition of timelines from the past, present, and future of main character Alexei’s life, the utilization of the same actors and actresses in multiple roles, the overlay of poetry over the visu… Pocket Guide, published by Crescent Moon Publishing in 2011. Images from Zerkalo [The Mirror] (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975). The Mirror, according to the script A Bright, Bright Day (Mosfilm, 1973), was going to have less documentary footage and more memories of Tarkovsky’s childhood. The movie is a poetic exploration of childhood: the long dolly shots around the old house in the country and the Moscow apartment explore the spaces of childhood, the geography of memory: the table was there, the chair was here, the window was there, and so on. Scenes included the demolition of a church in 1939; the mother selling flowers in a market; a horse riding lesson; a scene at a ractrack; and a forest scene at night. Again, in Sculpting in Time, Tarkovsky explains how memories work as some sort of artistic reconstruction: Generally people’s memories arc precious to them. It is a motif out of the dumbest pop promo (don’t Queen have a video where Freddie releases a white dove?). [Andrei Arsenʹevich Tarkovskii; Arsenii Aleksandrovich Tarkovskii; Aleksandr Misharin; Margarita Terekhova; Oleg Yanovsky; Moskovskaia kinostudiia Een film als Méditerranée leert ons dat de tijd zich kan openen door zijn aanwezigheid te ontvouwen. Among the thousands of mainstream (Hollywood) movies that try to depict children and childhood, very few come close to the luminous authenticity of The Mirror. The first episodes of Mirror were written while Tarkovsky was working on Andrei Rublev. (Editor Lyudmilla Feiginova does employ one of the standard devices of TV news and documentaries: she and sound man Semyon Litvinov add studio sound effects to footage that was shot silent (as a lot of it was).). He feels he hasn’t loved them enough, and this idea torments him and will not let him be.”. T he existence of this book was—to your humble Nostalghia.com webmasters—for several years a mere unsubstantiated rumour. (tr. This paper first appeared in the Canadian Journal of Film Studies/Revue canadienne d'études cinématographiques, Volume 11, Number 2 (Fall 2002), and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the author and of CJFS. The movie is one long evocation of one person’s childhood. A direct translation from memory to moving image, Mirror juxtaposes scenes from all three times without giving clear signposts as to what era we find ourselves in. First, the scattered memories, which are at times enchanted and at times dreadful. Book of Andrei Tarkovsky's Mirror. In 1983 he It is no more than a straightforward, simple story. Instead, Tarkovsky relies on the viewer’s knowledge of history to fill in the gaps. Tarkovsky was given a budget of 622,000 Soviet ruble and 7500 meters of Kodak film, corresponding to roughly three takes assuming a film length of 3000 meters. All the characters share that plight―they are tongue-tied, they stutter; overwhelmed by emotion they speak in quotes, obliquely; disheartened, they take flight. It is gathered from all sorts of sources, the result of anonymous camera teams, and from so many places – throughout Russia, but also in China, in Berlin, in Spain, in Prague, and in Hiroshima. 8,992 Yen (tax incl.) He often isolates and enhances a key sound over others to … The concept of The Mirror dates as far back as 1964. The movie could be extended indefinitely through a variety of age ranges: 2, 8, 15, 19, 26, and so on. The Film Companion, p. 110), Related: “His pasts await him” (The Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, 1972), • By Philippe Theophanidis on October 3, 2012 ― Published in Art, Communication, Movies | Tagged: Bachelard, childhood, couple, home, incommunicability, melancholy, memory, past, phantasm, Russia, séparation, Tarkovsky. He wrote something quite similar in the original script for the film: The fragile joy we had felt on returning slowly ebbs from our hearts, like the blood of one mortally wounded; leaving a bitter anguished emptiness […] You should never return to ruins, whether it be a town, the house where you were born, or someone you have separated from. They employed a common practice among co-writers: they wrote scenes on their own, then swapped them and edited the other’s scenes. Second, the painful gap that exists between a man and a woman: each time they make an effort to cross it, it seems to grow wider and wider. Structurally, there are two moments in the past that are explored in The Mirror: 1935-36, 1942-43, and the present (c. 1974). The complete film is available to watch on YouTube (at the time of this writing). The most famous Soviet film-maker since Sergei M. Eisenstein, Andrei Tarkovsky (the son of noted poet Arseniy Tarkovsky) studied music and Arabic in Moscow before enrolling in the Soviet film school V.G.I.K. Walking through The Mirror’s dacha, during The Lost Lessons of Andrei Tarkovsky, @EQZE Posted on February 17, 2018 February 17, 2018 by Ruxandra I share here some of the beautiful images captured during the 1st conference dedicated to Andrei Tarkovsky’s lost lessons, by Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola in Donostia/ San Sebastian. All we communicate to others is an orientation toward what is secret without ever being able to tell the secret objectively. “I wanted to tell the story of the pain suffered by one man because he feels he cannot repay his family for all they have given him [Tarkovsky wrote in Sculpting in Time]. That screenplay was shelved, later to resurface as Mirror (1975). Absolutely. . In the West, titles are not copyrighted (at least in the UK), but it would be a foolish company, however, that tried using names such as “Disney”, “MacDonald’s” or “Coca Cola” on a product or service, those corporations being notorious for the number of litigations they pursue). Part of what makes a Tarkovsky film so atmospheric is his unique approach to sound design. He shot to international attention with his first feature, Ivan's Childhood (1962), which won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival. Although Arseni Tarkovsky and Maria Ivanovna were studying and working in Moscow, Andrei Tarkovsky was born in the tiny village at the confluence of rivers Volga and Nyomda. But Andrei Tarkovsky deploys it in quite different manner from the typical TV documentary. Their mutually-developed script initially was not approved by the film committee of Goskino, and it was only after several years of waiting that Tarkovsky would be allowed to realize The Mirror. It is no accident that they are coloured by poetry. Confession is pretentious. There is no denying the lucidity and poetic authenticity of these mnemonic images. The movie, though, soars above pretension and artifice by the magnitude of its passion. And none of the characters in The Mirror refer to the footage, or even to the events depicted in the newsreels. Why Are You Standing So Far Away? The Mirror (Zerkalo or The Bright, Bright Day) is a poem. Two main themes nonetheless seem to dominate the story when I last saw it. Tarkovsky acknowledged that The Mirror was the most complex of his films structurally and dramatically. There’s an enormous difference, after all, between the way you remember the house in which you were born and which you haven’t seen for years, and the actual sight of the house after a prolonged absence. This is the key to understanding the movie. How is it that you have such amazingly subtle understanding of all the confusion, complexity and splendour of life?”. In a 1975 interview, Andrei Tarkovsky said pace The Mirror that “there are no entertaining moments in the movie. It is a paradox that Mirror, a film which confirm the deep and unbreakable ties between people, between generations, between the personal and the political, between ourselves and the world, is essentially a film about people who fail to communicate, who have failed to communicate. This text was originally published as ‘Mirror’ in Andrei Tarkovsky. A movie of acutely remembered places. Andrei Tarkovsky, Writer: Solyaris. The script continually evolved, with daily rewrites (that’s normal on many movies, but The Mirror had a loose structure, which could accommodate all sorts of additions or alterations. In Mirror Tarkovsky took this intuitive approach to creativity to an almost paradoxically methodological extreme. Formé à une idée de l’art comme ouverture par les romans de Kerouac et la poésie d’Allen Ginsberg, par la peinture de Warhol, de Bacon et de David Hockney, bien davantage que par le cinéma auquel ne le relie aucun fétichisme cinéphilique. It never becomes complacent or banal. Andrei Tarkovsky’s own step-daughter was the red-haired beloved of the teenage Aleksei, and Tarkovsky’s second wife, Larissa Tarkovskaya, played the doctor’s wife. A lot of the footage is familiar from the countless documentaries on World War Two, on Russian history, on Nazi Germany, and on 20th century history (there are whole cable and satellite channels now dedicated to airing this kind of material). “You and I could never communicate” in ‘Mirror’ by Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975, at 33mins. Only a few movies – like The Magnificent Ambersons or Akira – have a similarly miraculous first reel. The past and present are bound up tightly together in the last shot of the film: Maria is there, and Maria as an old woman with Maria’s two children (the old woman doubles as a grandmother). Andrei Tarkovsky's Madonna del Parto. The narrator in The Mirror is strictly a narrator, in the technical, literary sense of the term. The first, the oneirically definitive house, must retain its shadows. The remarkable footage of the Soviet balloonists, for example, or the moving images of soldiers trudging doggedly through mud and water do not require the viewer to know all the details. The newsreel footage in The Mirror is a substantial element in the movie. The screenshots featured here all come from this YouTube copy: that’s because it features the exact same subtitles as in the 35 mm copy I saw. He is the narrator of the poem that is the movie. You were bolder, lighter than a bird's wing, Heady as vertigo you ran downstairs Two steps at a time, and led me Through damp lilac, into your domain On the other side, beyond the mirror. The dacha of the past is built on (the foundations of) Tarkovsky’s real childhood home (it was important for Tarkovsky to build his childhood home in the exact spot it had once stood). answer to Kubrick's '2001' (though Tarkovsky himself was never too fond of it), but he ran into official trouble again with The Mirror (1975), a dense, personal web of autobiographical memories with a radically innovative plot structure. After that, the post-production of The Mirror continued without problems. by Maris Jolas, Beacon Press, 1994, p. 13). Some images correspond to a line in a poem, while the refrains and links are the shots of fire which fade to black. A famous instance occurs in The Wizard of Oz , although that’s not time travel). This idea of memories as constructed representations that do not, however, stand for anything real is at the heart of the melancholic disposition (see previously here: memories as phantasms in relation to Angelopoulos’s film The Beekeeper). One of the fan letters (which Andrei Tarkovsky quoted in his diary) enthused about The Mirror: “it is your best film, it is a film about life, the most truthful and realistic film of life that we have ever seen. Cinema works at the point of viewing in a continuous present, yet it is always, as Jean Cocteau said, “filmed death”. Rather than being the narrator of a novel, however, The Mirror’s narrator is the narrator of poetry, because The Mirror is a ciné-poem, rather than the cinematic adaption of a novel. In 1960 he graduated from the Soviet State Film School with his first film The Steamroller and the Violin. Characters are compared to each other, while others are irreconcilably opposed. The concept, according to Misharin and Tarkovsky, was to trace the “spiritual organization of our society” through “the rightful fate of one person; a person whom we know and love, who is called Mother”. The other script got great reviews both in and out of my school but a script coverage of the project slammed the brakes on any progress. For Tarkovsky, childhood is largely a lonely experience, with parental affection a rarity. In fact I am categorically against entertainment in cinema: it is as degrading for the author as it is for the audience.” That’s a typical Tarkovskyan comment (but he’s totally, utterly wrong about entertainment, I think). If one thinks of The Mirror poetically, then the form – the overlapping, the montages, the merging of imagery and events from the past and present – becomes clear. The true story of Henry Hill, a half-Irish, half-Sicilian Brooklyn kid who is adopted by neighbourhood gangsters at an early age and climbs the ranks of a Mafia family under the guidance of Jimmy Conway. In her Film Companion book to Mirror, Natasha Synessios shared a similar view: It is a paradox that Mirror, a film which confirm the deep and unbreakable ties between people, between generations, between the personal and the political, between ourselves and the world, is essentially a film about people who fail to communicate, who have failed to communicate. En sorte que, loin de se situer par rapport à une époque dont ses œuvres refléteraient la sensibilité commune – en particulier musicale –, Olivier Assayas a eu très tôt et très clairement conscience de faire des films contre sa génération plus qu’avec elle. The present exists beside the past, not only in dreams and memories, but also in people, in their faces, personalities and actions. These images, seemingly a world away from an intimate portrait of childhood, fuse beautifully with the rest of the film. It was released in the Soviet Union in early 1975 at a third (then second) distribution category. Tarkovsky's films include Ivan's Childhood (1962), Andrei Rublev (1966), Solaris (1972), Mirror (1975), and Stalker (1979). Past (1935 and 1942) > Present (about 1974), Maria, the mother > Natalia, the modern wife/ mother, Children’s grandmother > Maria as an old woman (and the narrator’s mother). It was, rather, ultimately a movie about feelings: about his feelings towards his loved ones and relatives, and about his own inadequacy – “my feeling of duty left unfulfilled”). Yet, they’re incredibly atmospheric and poignant. In it there can be seen a mud island with a snail on it, a syringe, a plate, a mirror, an aquarium with fishes, a sterylizer, an extractor, a religious icon, coins, some gauze, a gun, metal part, an industrial spring, a page from a calendar (28th), some metal parts, some wire, Stalker’s hand in the water (sepia). In 1960 he graduated from the Soviet State Film School with his first film The Steamroller and the Violin. This must be the ordinary story of a life, with its hopes, its faith, its grief and its joys”. “The function of the image, as Gogol said, is to express life itself, not ideas or arguments about life. He directed the first five of his seven feature films in the Soviet Union; his last two films, Nostalghia (1983) and The Sacrifice (1986), were produced in Italy and Sweden, respectively. The Mirror also acts as the spiritual biography of an age: the eras of 1935-36 and 1942-43 are so poignantly evoked by the newsreels. (The newsreels, though, are roughly chronological). Ignat would thus have been introduced differently. If the scenes were arranged in a particular pattern, Misharin said, some other scenes would be left out. He is currently (2003) finishing his Masters in Architecture at Harvard Design School. The movie, as Alexander Misharin noted, had too many scenes and too many themes, and they couldn’t be arranged by editor Lyudmilla Feiginova into a form that satisfied everyone. Filming began in September, 1973 and finished in March, 1974. Instead, Tarkovsky proposed a film version of Polish author Stanislaw Lem ’s philosophical 1961 sci-fi novel, Solaris, reasoning that a futuristic thriller set on board a remote space station would prove populist enough even for the censorious commissars of Soviet cinema. (see Mirror script in Russian) Notes The latest -- Utopia! A cinematic iconoclast of sorts due to his distaste for symbolism, Tarkovsky stated that The Mirrorcontained “no hidden coded meaning in the film…” It was “nothing beyond the desire to tell the truth…” about his life. Mirror covers three distinct time spans; the mid-1930s, the time of the Second World War and the present day, presumably set in the 1970s. It is loosely autobiographical, and combines many elements, from poetry read in voiceover by the director’s father Arseny Tarkovsky, to dream sequences, flashbacks, newsreel and mnemonics (memory devices). One cannot escape the influence of the past, and the same situations are re-enacted (for example, the 1930s family is broken, and the present-day husband and wife have parted). Get this from a library! T o judge from his published diaries, the 1970s were a difficult period for Andrei Tarkovsky, full of anguish, heartache, and uncertainty. It comes as no surprise that Andrei Tarkovsky, master of Soviet cinema, turned to composer Eduard Artemiev to score his two lyrical and haunting films, The Mirror (1975) and Stalker (1979), as he had done for Solaris (also available on Superior Viaduct). The release of Andrei Rublev was delayed until 1971. Moreover, even more so than in The Mirror itself, the script deals with the romantic legacy of magic mirrors and its possible kinship to the art of cinematography. There is so much going on, so much that is startling. 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