Andrei Tarkovsky is without doubt the greatest Russian filmmaker of all time. He’s certainly the first name that comes to mind when discussing the movies of the Motherland. Despite making less than ten films in a career which spanned three decades, he left an indelible mark on the history of world cinema. Whilst the likes of Solaris, Stalker and Ivan’s Childhood get more recognition, Mirror is the great man’s most personal and underappreciated work.
Alexei, now a forty-year-old man, looks back on his childhood and adolescence through the mirror of time. in pre-war Russia, as a young child (Filipp Yankovskiy) he lives in the countryside with his mother (Margarita Terekhova) and sister. During the war, an adolescent Alexei is still separated from his father, living in uncertain times. In the present day, his son Ignat (Ignat Daniltsev) now lives with his ex-wife. Memories, events and recollections ebb and flow.
Mirror is an autobiographical film which plays with the fragilities of memory and time to produce a beguiling and unforgettable experience. Of all Tarkovsky’s works, this is the one which benefits the most from repeat viewing. Each time a new layer is peeled away, revealing even more magic and beauty underneath. Georgi Rerberg’s cinematography is haunting while Terekhova studied performance is perfectly realised. Mirror is one of those films which is difficult to describe yet impossible to forget.
- New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- Andrei Tarkovsky: A Cinema Prayer, a 2019 documentary about the director by his son Andrei A. Tarkovsky
- The Dream in the Mirror, a new documentary by Louise Milne and Seán Martin
- New interview with composer Eduard Artemyev
- Islands: Georgy Rerberg, a 2007 documentary about the cinematographer
- Archival interviews with Tarkovsky and screenwriter Alexander Misharin
- New English subtitle translation
- Plus: An essay by critic Carmen Gray and the 1968 film proposal and literary script by Tarkovsky and Misharin that they ultimately developed into Mirror
Mirror is released on Blu-ray by the Criterion Collection on 26 July.