Andrei TarkovskyUSSR106 minutes1974ColourB&WRussian
"An essential film, an extraordinarily beautiful movie" (J. Hoberman, The Village Voice). Attacked by the Soviets for elitism and obscurity and banned from foreign screenings for many years, this awe-inspiring autobiographical film (Tarkovsky called it his "confession") is a key to the director's world and as close as cinema has come to a Proustian evocation of "lost time." Weaving personal memories and dreams (wartime exile, the travails of Tarkovsky's beloved mother) into collective memory (newsreels of the bombing of Barcelona, the Stalinist era, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, World War II), The Mirror recreates the world of Tarkovsky's childhood in a flow of unforgettable images: a burning barn, a levitating woman, a boy being cured of a stutter by a hypnotist, a bird fluttering against a window pane. Olivier Assayas (the subject of a recent TIFF Cinematheque retrospective) cites The Mirror as his ideal film, one that goes beyond cinema and recreates the very act of remembering and perceiving: "When I first saw it, I thought the sequence just after the credits was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen in the movies."