Sitting here with a policy of honesty being the best option, I regret to inform you that I do not “get” The Mirror by Andrei Tarkovsky. It is a beautiful film and I intend to watch it over and over again until I do understand it, but that may take years, I may die first; I just don’t really know.

This film is a memory and a dream. It is a series of stressed chain links holding up a piano that dangles over the viewer. There is a base narrative of the film following Alexei and his mother, Maria, with hints slowly floating down like snowflakes on an unseasonably warm day. By the time the flakes get anywhere near you, they are long gone. The Mirror is what happens when a highly respected and influential director decides to make a film based around dreams and memories.

If I consider The Mirror in a philosophical context of the representation of a dream, perhaps it would be best to never watch it again, similar to how I will never completely recreate any dream a second time. It exists; I was aware while watching, but I just could not see it. This film, perhaps in a greater sense than any other film represented on this list, is an absolute abstract work of art. It does not care how you feel or what you think; it merely exists on its own merits.

Or I am not smart enough – a very possible solution.

Andrei Tarkovsky consistently challenges me with his vision and his technique, leaving me to broaden everything that I have expected of film each time I watch a new one. His extended takes put a viewer deeper into the film that any other director with whose work I am familiar. That is the magic of The Mirror. It is gorgeous. I want – no, I long – to know it better. You may not. That is your business, not mine; mine is a quest.


Important Links

BFI Top 50: Mirror

Wikipedia: Mirror