Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Mirror Turns 35

I put film and aesthetics in the title of this blog but I have yet to write on aesthetics and my posts on film are limited to my own efforts. So here is the perfect excuse to write about Aesthetics and film.

Andri Tarkovsky's renound work The Mirror is 35 years old in 2009.

The Mirror has held a critical place in my imagination since first seeing the image of the woman on the fence, the wind moving through the trees and other images. The film is an example, maybe the best example there is, of poetic narrative cinema. It sets the bar high for those who want to work in that way.

The film does have something of a narrative arc,it presents characters and events but the organization and presentation is based on the emotional experiences and memories of the characters, rather than on traditional story structure. In its best moments it comes as close as any art form can to presenting individual consciousness and memory as such.

Granted this type of film leads to great confusion for viewers who come to it with traditional expectations about how a story is to be presented to an audience. In this film its difficult to tell who the characters are and even what some of the relationships are between them. The film moves fluidly between different times, sometimes announcing this movement, other times not. What is interesting is that on the level of plot many viewers would conclude that the film is a total mess. Be that as it may, on the level of emotional structure, and refinement of the image The Mirror is an amazing work. It's completely enthralling, its a beautiful slow lament mulling life lived. Its also amazingly liberating to experience, anythings seems possible, and greatness is made to look easy.

Here is part of the opening sequence from you tube.

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