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Tarkovsky's The Mirror (1975)

Posted: Sun May 03, 2009 6:43 pm
by moscatomg
Anyone post--or even notice in private--any vague, very intermittent semblances from Tarkovsky's The Mirror in the works of David Lynch and even Inland Empire specifically? I was struck by some things in particular, but I don't want to mention them right away to bias anyone. One very, very general detail I will particularize, though, is that strange use of flickering lights grounded not only in surrealism in cinema but the quite Lynch-like way of which it seemed to remind me in its employment in The Mirror.

Re: Tarkovsky's The Mirror (1975)

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:31 pm
by gavriloP
I have felt it strongly. I'd say that Tarkovsky, Bergman and Lynch have this same voice. It is this dreamlike feeling that surrounds you even in very seemingly mundane scenes. They are all actually horror directors to me, they evoke same nightmare emotions in me (among other things, of course). Those dream sequences of Mirror are brilliant (and they are "real" in a sense that they are his dreams, just like Lynch's ones). These three directors are best "dream" visualizers that I've seen. I mean their dream sequences really feel like real dream.

Tarkovsky also says lot with soundtrack just like Lynch. And even though those soviet movies are little lacking on technical department, it doesn't matter, it actually makes them even better!

Bergman's movies go to this land only occasionally but when they do, it works. I just watched Hour of the wolf for the was first time and felt like I was in home. Persona has this same feeling too.

Funny thing about Mirror was that dream scene where Andrei's mother is washing her hair. It was clearly quite strong influence to that japanese horror flick, Ringu.

I really recommend all of Tarkovsky's movies to every Lynch fan, they are magnificient! He is my absolute favourite director, he just makes me cry and shows me how great mankind can be on a good day.


Re: Tarkovsky's The Mirror (1975)

Posted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:20 am
by moscatomg
gavriloP, I was wondering if anyone was going to post a comment on this. Thank you. And I really can't disagree with any of your comments. There's also some really interesting things going on to be discussed with the odd sense of multiplicity (or perhaps just duplicity) of female personality as presented in The Mirror and Inland Empire. B/c there is that utterly palpable feeling that Margarita Terekhova is playing two (at least) characters/personalities. I'll need to double check the actual film end credits, but IMDB provides that double character credit of "Natalya / Maroussia" for her part (and others) in The Mirror, not unlike in some Lynch films. I'm doing some research on a not unrelated topic for a paper, and the stuff I'm reading on archetypal theory which is all fairly new to me seems to be illuminating for thinking about some of these female characters and portrayals in Lynch, The Mirror, and, definitely yes, Persona.

Re: Tarkovsky's The Mirror (1975)

Posted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 3:54 pm
by gavriloP
If we consider The Mirror and archetypes it is very interesting that Tarkovsky made this film totally personal, from his own memories, feelings, dreams and such. And still he himself found out too that it resonated well with many peoples because somehow very personal becomes almost universal. I think it is intriquing. I also feel it strongly myself. I too have mother who still lives in her childhood home in her dreams. She always goes back there in her mind even though that house is completely changed. But this place itself is very strong mental place. I myself don't feel connection to that house because I've never lived there but I have my own special places where I go in my dreams, and I can relate her feelings. When in the end the archetypical mother and son walk away from the ruins and we are left in the dark forest, I weep every time. The inevitable loss in this life and the sad story of man is so deep. And it is like all most beautiful things in life: when you feel that you will lose that beaty it will only make it stronger.

In my view the mirror shows how we see people as mirror images of our most basic relationships.. like mother/father/child. It is eerie feeling to see your mother or father in your mirror when you grow old. And also to see the patterns that always seem to go on and on. Like how your relationships relate to your parents and such. And how you determine yourself and give yourself a personality through the memory of your childhood feelings. Oh I could go on and on. Man, now I gotta watch that film again.

Re: Tarkovsky's The Mirror (1975)

Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:29 am
by gavriloP
Ok, I watched it again. Beautiful.

I actually don't think this movie is bizarre, it is actually very open. They are fragments of one family's life as told by this artist. There is nothing invented in this movie, only that deathbed and sickness are fabrication to make it work better as a film. The artist sees his son as himself and vice versa. Same happens with his wife and mother. Maybe the most enigmatic scene is where Ignat is alone in father's apartment. To me that whole scene with electric shock, strange meeting with unknown grandmother and those womans that act like ghosts is pure magic. It is how we can feel supernatural in our life. This is how ghost stories are born. Are they genuine or not isn't essential. We feel them, therefore they are. And oh how we want to believe in them. Logic loses to magic, every time.

This site has great interviews from this master among the men.

One thing: The ending of mirror can also see as very positive. There is the eternal mother and child walking through the god's field (the crucifix is there to remind us). That can be a beautiful thing. But we are still left in the dark woods. I myself cannot believe in afterlife so sadly I remain in that forest. But even that is ok to me, because life so damn beautiful in itself, sometimes at least. I also feel that even though Tarkovsky was religious man, no man is without doubt and they all question they faith, constantly. This feeling is there.

I see the end and this whole movie as I see life. It goes past us and we are left there to watch it go. Recollecting the things that made us. Child is lost, mother is lost. Everything is lost. But we just keep going on. And in our mind, not everything is lost. We hurt the ones we love, we are abhorred and adored through mirrors. Circle of life goes on in families. No matter how hard you try to teach your children to live better life than yourself, they are still bound to make these same mistakes. But they can also fall in love for the first time and feel the things that are numb to us. The point is to try.

Ok, I better stop now. But as you can see, this movie really takes you to the well.

Re: Tarkovsky's The Mirror (1975)

Posted: Sat Aug 15, 2009 6:29 pm
by moscatomg
gavriloP, I wanted to write sooner, but I hoped if I waited longer I would have better ideas to add to the discussion and a subsequent viewing of The Mirror under my belt. Sadly, neither has come to pass yet. And I feel that multiple viewings are required for this film to even begin to grasp it, much like just about any Lynch film. But your comments I believe are very insightful and well articulated. I had kept on asking myself the significance of the title--as is a basic step in even the most casual film analysis--but I continued to draw a blank. But to see the characters, to see people, as the very mirrors of each other is a fascinating and likely dead-on interpretation, especially when considering generations within a family, as the film focuses on. (I was just musing on this the other day--the way we so often inevitably inherit so many traits, good and bad, from our parents and through our respective upbringings.) It's also so palpable a similar kind of theme to that one of doppelgangers that Lynch repeatedly plays with. That very opening scene, though, with the patient with a speech communication problem still leaves me very perplexed: I wonder how it may connect with such a theme of people as mirror images or the mirrors themselves? Actually, like a few other seemingly random sequences (the scene with the officer who has an old head injury and is almost killed during some sort of military exercise with the young boys), I wonder how it connects to anything in the film? Perhaps those are Tarkovsky's more personal moments, like you mentioned; perhaps I am having the same difficulty with this film as with many Lynch films the first time or so around, where otherwise basic episodes and/or "plot" points become hidden amidst so much "magic," as you say.

Re: Tarkovsky's The Mirror (1975)

Posted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 4:34 am
by gavriloP
Even though I generally believe that we should just analyze films as is, and not study the makers or influences or other connections, it is very revealing to know some things about this film. Like I said, all scenes are "real" in sense that they are all happened in real life to Tarkovsky's family members, or at least were real memories and thoughts. Only that sickbed scene (dying bed) is fabricated. So because this is movie that mostly works with memories, there are bound to be some "strange" scenes that are mysterious.

I strongly believe that Andrei has seen this kind of film about hypnotherapy as we see in the beginning. We actually see him or his son to turn on TV. This hypnosis scene isn't "real" but documentary as can be seen from the microphone shadow on the wall. It connects to other documentary clips that we see later on. Film as a medium is interesting because it makes us share same view. So we all have samekind of memories about them. And they affect our lives. But more from that beginning. I see it as a indicator of strenght of mind. How we can cure ourselves "just like that". I strongly feel that this film was to Andrei what is going on in that scene. He got his voice and spoke loudly about himself. He thought that he made totally personal film and it was quite risky in those days in soviet union. He must have felt that he got free from his "stutter" with this film. And with that I mean that he opened his mouth and revealed himself completely. I bet it must've been scary but also invigorating for him.

And that scene at the shooting range. Well, first of all, we are taken thare with that memory of that girl with sore lip. She was the first love of protagonist. But that scene tells so much about war. We see how children are left orphan and damaged, and what sacrifices people do with it. This invalid instructor has given his health to it and he is very concerned about random violence, stray bullets etc. He knows the tragedies they can make. And still he is soldier, willing to sacrifice his life for others by throwing himself on top of that grenade. This scene has always affected me deeply. War is something that always leaves behind only ruins. People as well as places. But it also show human capability to sacrifice oneself for others. That is the ultimate nobility. But anyone who has experienced war, as a civilian or a soldier, remembers it always. So it definitely has place in one's memoirs.

Ok, I'll get back to it soon, but now I got to go. Thanks for this discussion, it feels good to talk about this film.

Re: Tarkovsky's The Mirror (1975)

Posted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 3:42 am
by gavriloP
Just to add little something for the whole idea of mirrors. I watched Tarkovsky's Solaris again (first Rublev and now this, flying high at the moment). It is interesting that Solaris has lots of similar undertones as Mirror in places. Especially when Kris Kelvin is having fever dreams near the end of the movie. And of course the thoughts of life and memory etc.
At one point the mirror (as an apparatus) is mentioned. It is said that we need mirror instead looking far away (space). We have to learn who we are first. Bigger things are out of our comprehension. So in that sense we also need mirror to really see ourselves before we can understand others (actually we are so close to each other it maybe isn't even necessary). So we see the world through ourselves. And we should be aware of it.

I know that generally Solaris isn't regarded as highly as some other films by Tarkovsky, but I have grown to love it very much. Actually almost all of his films goes off the scale with me. It's like grading your kids, you can't do it. And even if you can, you shouldn't.
Ivan's childhood isn't so good as the others but the mere fact that the first movie by Tarkovski starts the same way as his last film ends (only reversed of course) is unbelieveable. And it elevates that film too. And there was also great scenes here and there, ringing bells etc.

Re: Tarkovsky's mention of the Mirror in SOLARIS

Posted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 4:42 pm
by iefan
we also need mirror to really see ourselves before we can understand other

This statement misses the point completely.

The point is we don't really want to understand others or their worlds which differ from us and our world.

What we really want to do is expand, and then create copies or REFLECTIONS of ourselves and our world on these other worlds.

Look at Narcissistic Alexander the "so called" Great. Look at how he implants copies of himself and his world vision wherever he goes. Look at Ceasar. Napoleon. Hitler.

When we expand or explore, we don't really want to understand other life or forms of life that differ from us. What we really want to do is to create other copies of ourselves throughout the cosmos.

In the book, Lem describes the inability of human science to properly handle a truly alien life form that is beyond human understanding

Tarkovsky turns Gibarian's monologue from chapter six of the book into a highlight of the final library scene, in a line which Snaut delivers: "We don't need other worlds. We need mirrors".

That way, (like NARCISSUS, who gazes into his MIRROR), we can gaze at ourselves and admire ourselves. Because this is what we really want to do instead of explore and learn about other alien worlds that differ from our own world.

Mann has gone out to explore other worlds and other civilizations without having
exploredd his own labyrinth of dark passages and secret chambers, and without
findingg what lies behind doorways that he himself has sealed (157).

There are several themes at work in Solaris, the first of which is a critique of the ideology of exploration

It is worth quoting

We don't want to conquer the cosmos, we simply want to extend the boundaries of Earth to the frontiers of the cosmos

We think ourselves as the Knights of the Holy Contact.

This is another lie.

We are only seeking Man

We have no need of other worlds.

We need mirrors.

We don't know what to do with other worlds.

A single world, our own, suffices us; but we can't accept it for what it is.

We are searching for an ideal image of our own world:

Lem's Snow saw it instead as a testimony to our arrogance at wanting to spread our human conceits unto the very edge of the universe rather than make contact with other forms of life in order to improve our own.

This is central to Lem's work

Re: Tarkovsky's The Mirror (1975)

Posted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 2:37 am
by gavriloP
Sorry, I wasn't making myself clear there. When I talked about mirrors and seeing oneself I was already talking about The Mirror. I do realize the lines and meaning in Solaris even though I didn't remember them word for word. I only brought this up because this film is clearly planting some of the seeds that Tarkovsky later reaped.

I'm not certain where are you getting at and I have no need to argue about Lem at all.

EDIT: hey, I read what I wrote before and yes it was little bizarre ;) it was good thing that you quoted those line verbatim. It was just clear to me that we need this mirror to understand, I think that was what Tarkovsky got out of it. The critique of science and explaining the unexlpainable is something different. No matter what Lem said, some of the most important lines to Tarkvosky got to be (in Solaris) that human needs another human, and love makes us human.