Mirror ★★★★

I wish this stirring, brilliantly acted and photographed monument to an aching inner life had been my first Tarkovsky instead of Stalker, which I don't care much for at all -- not because it confounds me conceptually but because I dislike its ponderous pacing and dramatics. This, on the other hand, is a beautifully sensory experience full of visual poetry that makes sense only in the most visceral terms -- as a treatise on memory and dreams and a highly personal examination of how images and events from childhood inform the way that adult life is experienced and remembered, and as a Bergman-like example of a film that unapologetically lives inside the extremity of its emotions. I'm completely disinterested in cracking the "code" or whatever of what Tarkovsky's "plot" and message here are, because that's all semantics that have nothing to do with why the actual experience of watching it is so moving.

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