The Mirror is the most personal autobiographical film I have ever seen in recent memory. With this film being my introduction to Tarkovsky, I had no idea what to expect and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Tarkovsky managed to chronicle his own life experiences as well as the historical environment surrounding him. There is not much plot to discuss without spoiling the whole film so I will not delve into such subjects.
There are several moments in the film in which Tarkovsky isolates one single sound effect and mutes all others in order to emphasize that sound to the audience. These sounds can range from the burning of wood to the dripping of rain to the sound of bed sheets flapping in the breeze. This effect creates a dream-like quality that, to me, seems almost hypnotic. The audio is not the only thing that is dream-like; there are scenes including self-moving objects, levitating bodies, and a disappearing woman that confuses me.
The film often has a narrator recite beautiful poems throughout that resonate with you yet tie in with the overall story. Tarkovsky also often decides not to show the face of the main character for most of the film only to follow the expressions of other actors he is communicating with. I found this choice to be very intriguing and a clever visual device.
Speaking about visuals, the cinematography really impressed me. The way the shots are framed to how the camera moves, everything seems natural and flowing. The color of the film is handled extremely well, too. There is often a hazy green atmosphere in the forest and the black and white scenes are simply haunting. Definitely some of the best that cinema has to offer.
I should also acknowledge the actress who plays Andrei’s mother and wife because she gives a brilliantly subtle performance that deserves praise. The ending is emotionally charged and poignant; it is a great story about forgiveness and longing. This movie is definitely one I would recommend to someone who loves art films which reminds me; this film is not for everyone. Tarkovsky tells a wonderfully quiet and personal story that will not sit with most audiences. However, I personally loved the film.