8.1/10
38,365
135 user 75 critic

The Mirror (1975)

Zerkalo (original title)
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.

Director:

Andrei Tarkovsky (as Andrey Tarkovskiy)

Writers:

Aleksandr Misharin (as A. Misharin), Andrei Tarkovsky (as Andrey Tarkovskiy)
Reviews
Popularity
4,449 ( 682)
2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 Tamara Ogorodnikova ... Nanny / Neighbour / Strange woman at the tea table
Yuri Sventisov Yuri Sventisov ... Yuri Zhary
Tamara Reshetnikova Tamara Reshetnikova
Innokentiy Smoktunovskiy ... Aleksei (voice)
Arseniy Tarkovskiy Arseniy Tarkovskiy ... Father (voice)
E. Del Bosque E. Del Bosque ... A Spaniard
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Storyline

Tarkovsky mixes flash-backs, historical footage and original poetry to illustrate the reminiscences of a dying man about his childhood during World War II, adolescence, and a painful divorce in his family. The story interweaves reflections about Russian history and society Written by <xaviermartin@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At various times, the script and the film was known under the titles Confession, Redemption, Martyrology, Why are you standing so far away?, The Raging Stream and A White, White Day (sometimes also translated as A Bright, Bright Day.). Only while filming Tarkovsky decided to finally title the film Mirror. See more »

Goofs

In the first scene, in which stutterer Yuri Zhary is being hypnotized, a shadow of the boom mic is prominently visible on the wall behind him. However, because this is clearly supposed to be a recreation of a TV broadcast, it appears to be a intentional error. See more »

Quotes

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. And when i see those walls made of logs and the dark entrence, even in my dream i become aware that I'm only dreaming it. And the overwhelming joy is clouded by anticipation of awakening. At times something happens and i stop ...
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Connections

Featured in Kino pro kino (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Matthäuspassion - BWV 244
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
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User Reviews

 
Rules are there to be broken
18 February 2005 | by desh79See all my reviews

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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Soviet Union

Language:

Russian | Spanish

Release Date:

18 January 1978 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Mirror See more »

Filming Locations:

Mosfilm Studios, Moscow, Russia See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

RUR622,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,537, 15 September 2002

Gross USA:

$22,168

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$119,266
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mosfilm See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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