Tarkovsky’s exploration of the themes of time, memory and immortality is continued in his next film, The Mirror. If Solaris had pursued the idea of eternal life through the spirit-like figure of Harey, in The Mirror it was the director’s own mother, Maria Ivanovna, who was the centre of his preoccupations. His deep attachment to her finds expression in his writings, where he describes the impossibility of reconciling himself to the fact that she was mortal, that she would not live for ever.1 Through film, with its ability to capture and reproduce time, Tarkovsky saw a means of creating that ‘edifice of memories’2 in which his mother might be immortalised in another way. In part it was personal preoccupations such as these that led to the accusations of subjectivity against the director and his film. But as well as being Tarkovsky’s most personal work, The Mirror represents the quintessence of his cinema.
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