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Review Wanted: Andrei Tarkovsky's "Mirror"

Old 03-11-00, 06:40 PM
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This is one of the few Tarkovsky films I have yet to see, and I hear that it is one of his very best. I was intrigued to read about it in his marvelous book "Sculpting in Time" and now that it is on DVD I have the chance to finally rent and/or buy it. Besides the critical question of what you thought of the film, I would be that much more curious to know how Kino DVDs are (they put out this DVD as well as The Sacrifice). They have to be an improvement over Fox Lorber at any rate
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Old 03-11-00, 08:22 PM
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Here’s hoping Solaris and Stalker aren’t too far away.

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Old 03-11-00, 08:23 PM
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Jepthah, I just finished watching Mirror this morning, and it is certainly a superior transfer to the VHS copy I have. The image is very clean and the subtitling is crisp. I believe that the original aspect ratio for the film is 1.37, so there is probably minimal cropping at the top and bottom, since the picture appears to be 4:3. Kino is a highly respectable studio, and I consider them up to par with Criterion, so I didn't hesitate in picking up both Mirror and The Sacrifice when they were announced. (They also provided the masters for the Buster Keaton DVD's through Image).

I'm assuming that you are already familiar with the fact that Mirror is largely autobiographical, using achronological sequences of his childhood (growing up without a father), the present (as he fights with his ex-wife for custody of his son), and news footage. The images are serene and beautiful, and will provide insight into his other films (in particular, the house-burning scene in The Sacrifice and Ivan's resistance to military school in Ivan's Childhood). It is also a reflection of the themes that pervade his other films: isolation, fractured relationships, spirituality.

Incidentally, the transfer of The Sacrifice is also excellent, and is presented in letterbox. The DVD also contains the one-hour biography on Tarkovsky that was also released by Kino on VHS (separately) called Directed by Tarkovsky.

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Old 03-11-00, 08:38 PM
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Thanks redshift.

I also want to get The Sacrifice DVD, but since I haven't seen Mirror yet I am more keen on it. I thought Sacrifice was good but not great, and I have seen the Tarkovsky documentary, so I just place a higher priority on this unseen film.

The movie may be too complex for a simple "thumb-up/thumb-down" response from you, but if I am a big fan of Andrei Rublev and Stalker in particular do you anticipate me liking this one enough to pay a higher than average price for it?
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Old 03-11-00, 08:44 PM
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jonathan.e, Stalker, Solaris and Ivan's Childhood were all distributed by Fox Lorber on VHS, as were the edited Andrei Rublev and Nostalghia (not sure who distributed Steamroller and Violin, but I'd love to get my hands on that in any format!). Kino only had the two films on VHS (Mirror and The Sacrifice). So, hopefully, a third party (like Criterion) will pick up the DVD distribution rights, and not leave it up to Fox Lorber.
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Old 03-11-00, 08:57 PM
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Hmm...the film is fragmented and abstract because of the out of sequence arrangement of the film. That's the one nebulous characteristic that really isn't found in any of his films, so in that sense, it's different. I wouldn't put it in the same caliber as Stalker (my favorite film of all time, by the way, great taste ) or Andrei Rublev, but I'd place it above The Sacrifice, and equally as favored as Nostalghia and Solaris. Of course, I think all Tarkovsky's are thumbs up anyway.
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Old 03-11-00, 11:33 PM
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Just watched The Mirror. Wow!!!!!

I have The Sacrifice on backorder. Will order Andri Rublev next.

The Mirror is much more a poem than a conventional narrative. Some of the most exquisite cinematography I've ever seen. Complex, resonant, stunning...an amazing film.




[This message has been edited by Zeke (edited March 12, 2000).]
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