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The Mirror (1975) More at IMDbPro »Zerkalo (original title)

The Mirror -- Andrei Tarkovsky takes a moving and personal turn with this striking meditation on life in Russia during the bleak days of WW II. THE MIRROR is not just the display of a film director at the peak of his unique power, it tells an enigmatic tale that is both gripping and horrifying.


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Release Date:
7 March 1975 (Soviet Union) See more »
A dying man in his forties remembers his past. His childhood, his mother, the war, personal moments and things that tell of the recent history of all the Russian nation. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
User Reviews:
Rules are there to be broken See more (87 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
Margarita Terekhova ... Natalya / Maroussia - the Mother
Oleg Yankovskiy ... The Father
Filipp Yankovskiy ... Aleksei - Five Years Old
Ignat Daniltsev ... Ignat / Aleksei - twelve years old
Nikolay Grinko ... Printery Director
Alla Demidova ... Lisa
Yuriy Nazarov ... Military trainer
Anatoliy Solonitsyn ... Forensic doctor
Larisa Tarkovskaya ... Nadezha - Mother of twelve-year-old Alexei
Tamara Ogorodnikova ... Nanny / Neighbour / Strange woman at the tea table
Yuri Sventisov ... Yuri Zhary
Tamara Reshetnikova
Innokentiy Smoktunovskiy ... Aleksei (voice)
Arseniy Tarkovskiy ... Father (voice)
E. Del Bosque ... A Spaniard
Ángel Gutiérrez ... A Spaniard
Tatiana Del Bosque ... A Spaniard
Teresa Del Bosque ... A Spaniard
L. Correcer ... A Spaniard
Diego García ... A Spaniard
Teresa Rames ... A Spaniard
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Olga Kizilova ... Red-head (uncredited)
Aleksandr Misharin ... Bearded Doctor (uncredited)

Directed by
Andrei Tarkovsky  (as Andrey Tarkovskiy)
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Aleksandr Misharin  (as A. Misharin)
Arseniy Tarkovskiy  poems (uncredited)
Andrei Tarkovsky  (as Andrey Tarkovskiy)

Produced by
Erik Waisberg .... producer
Original Music by
Eduard Artemev 
Cinematography by
Georgi Rerberg 
Film Editing by
Lyudmila Feyginova 
Production Design by
Nikolay Dvigubskiy 
Costume Design by
Nelli Fomina  (as Nina Fomina)
Makeup Department
Vera Rudina .... makeup artist
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Mariya Chugunova .... assistant director
Larisa Tarkovskaya .... assistant director
Art Department
A. Merkulov .... set designer
Sound Department
Semyon Litvinov .... sound
Special Effects by
Yuri Potapov .... special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Alexey Nikolaev .... camera operator
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial Effects

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Zerkalo" - Soviet Union (original title)
See more »
108 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Andrei Tarkovsky prepared over 20 different cuts before he finally was happy with the film.See more »
Crew or equipment visible: During the last scene when the grandmother is accompanying the two children through a field, and the camera backtracks itself into dark woods,on the lower right portion of screen, the gleaming camera tracks are visible for a few seconds.See more »
Father:It seems to make me return to the place, poignantly dear to my heart, where my grandfathers house used to be in which i was born 40 years ago right on the dinner table. Each time i try to enter it, something prevents me from doing that. I see this dream again and again...See more »
Orgelbüchlein - Das alte Jahre vergangen ist - BWV 614See more »


Which paint inspired the famous scene with a bird landing at boy's head?
See more »
125 out of 136 people found the following review useful.
Rules are there to be broken, 18 February 2005
Author: desh79

To many Mirror is possibly Tarkovsky's most inhibitive and uninviting work, be as it may not a story in the traditional sense but rather an assemblage of images, scenes, and thoughts which at first sight seem to have very little in common and just drift back and forth with no obvious literal explanation. It's only after repeated viewings and the realisation of what it actually was that Tarkovsky tried to achieve that it dawns that this is more than just a bunch of random scenes, but a timeless and highly important masterpiece which defies explanation. But I'll try anyway.

I personally hold Tarkovsky in very high esteem. There are many directors I would regard as good or very good (for instance Kubrick, Kieslowski, Ozu, or Miyazaki), but there are only two directors I regard as absolute geniuses: Akira Kurosawa and, yep, Andrei Tarkovsky. Interestingly this is for two solely different reasons - whereas I admire Kurosawa for the manner in which he managed to perfect the art of cinematic storytelling, Tarkovsky deserves praise for wanting to shake cinema out of its complacent acceptance that films should simply tell a story and little else. Mirror is further proof that Tarkovsky's body of work (which is limited in quantity - a mere eight films - but rich in scope) establishes that the Hollywood mode of narrative is not the only way in which film can create an emotional response from an audience. Of course Tarkovsky is not alone in having done so (Marker and Greenaway immediately spring to mind), but what distinguishes him from other "art house" directors is that he has managed to take this style of film making and drive it to a stage that can be described as almost perfect.

I personally interpret Mirror as a man's life flashing before his eyes before he dies; his relationship with his wife and mother (both played by the same person, in an ingenious move on Tarkovsky's behalf), his children, his friends, the history of his home land, his own childhood. However, Mirror is deliberately structured in such a way that it can, and will, be interpreted differently by different people depending on how they inscribe their own personal thoughts and feelings into the narrative. This is where Tarkovsky's genius comes to fore - to create a film which does not dictate to an audience how to feel by manipulating them via music or mise-en-scene, but to make it the other way around. In the case of Mirror, we, the audience, dictate the emotional response created by the images on screen and, that, ultimately is that makes it such a wonderful work and a true rarity. This is possibly another way the title of the film can be interpreted, in that it illustrates a wholly reflective style of cinema.

Those not accustomed to a slightly more disjunctive cinematic style are likely to dismiss Mirror as boring or dull because it may not necessarily correspond to their expectations of film. However, it is still something I would regard as required viewing for everyone since it shows that cinema can be beautiful without necessarily following the rules Hollywood has imposed on the rest of the film making community, and that ultimately rules are there to be broken. A masterpiece, no less.

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