Mirror ★★★½

Part of My Autumn Rewatches 3.0 Challenge
Task 13: Rewatch a film in a language other than English.

When I first watched this five years ago, it was only the second film I had ever seen by the great Russian writer-director Andrei Tarkovsky. I felt then that more familiarity with his filmography might influence my appreciation of this semi-autobiographical and unconventional work. Now that I've viewed seven Tarkovsky films, let's see if I was right.

Things I never forgot:

The classical orchestrations, notably by Johan Sebastian Bach, as well as Henry Purcell and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, used at the opening and throughout (music by Eduard Artemev). Georgi Rerberg as cinematographer. The pre-war family farm near Ignatievo. Mother Maroussi (Margarita Terekhova), sitting on a fence, smoking and waiting for her husband (Oleg Yankovskiy) to return from the fields. The visiting doctor (Anatoli Solonitsyn) sitting on the fence and breaking it. Seeing young Alexei (Filipp Yankovsky) at the country home. The poetry composed and read by the director's father, Arseny Tarkovsky. The hayloft fire at a neighboring farm. Maroussi seeing herself aged in a mirror. A time shift. Adult Alexsei (Innokentiy Smoktunovskiy) talking to his mother by phone. His wife Natalia (Terekhova) having his mother's face. Their son Ignat (Ignat Daniltsev) looking like 12-year-old Alexsei. We all mirror others. Archival TV footage. Tarkovsky's fascination with hot air balloons.

Things I had forgotten:

The statue in the background for Mosfilm at the very opening showing a bare-breasted woman. The hypnotic "seance" that cures a stuttering young man named Yuri Zhary (Yuri Sventisov). A house's roof collapsing under heavy rain. The tongue-lashing of Masha (Terekhova) by her printing house colleague Liza (Alla Demidova). Masha naked in the shower; the water stopping.

Frankly, I dozed off twice while rewatching this. It could not keep my attention, so I gave up on trying to recollect and record instances recalled or forgotten. Perhaps if I were in a different frame of mind or watched it earlier in the day, it might have made a different impression, but I just could not stay with it. So even though I recognize how beautifully filmed and well acted this film is, I am calling this viewing no change in rating or reaction. Others have seen greatness here. It just did not strike me that way.

Ranked #4 among my Andrei Tarkovsky Ranked
Listed among Arts & Faith – Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films

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