Mirror to Mirror in the Mirror
April 24, 2009 5:02 PM   Subscribe

Tarkovsky's Mirror Set to Arvo Pärt's Mirror in the Mirror. [previously]

More info on Arvo Part and Tarkovsky.
posted by MaryDellamorte (32 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yo dawg...
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:11 PM on April 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, that's gorgeous, especially during an unseasonably balmy and breezy Friday almost-twilight . . . although that music is always profoundly saddening now since Mike Nichols used it at the end of the film version of Wit.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:21 PM on April 24, 2009


LOVE Tarkovsky. LOVE Pärt. This is just achingly beautiful, a perfect meeting of image and sound. Thanks for the post, Mary.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:27 PM on April 24, 2009


Wow. I hated that far more than I thought I was going to. I know I'm going to seem cynical , but I love Tarkovsky, and I like Part a lot too - but this took one of my favourite films and emptied it out completely, so that all that was left was a sort of "greatest hits" trailer. It could have been an advertisement for life insurance. I couldn't watch to the end. Maybe I'm just in a bad mood.
posted by silence at 5:32 PM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


S'cool, silence! We're all prone to bad moods on occasion!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:34 PM on April 24, 2009


When you watch a Kubrick film you can see right away his sense for framing a shot, those formative years at Look ( not to reduce him to still photography) but when you watch Tarkovsky it's all about the camera moving, it's a cinematic slow dance.

The Mirror is a very personal film, but I can relate to it completely. It's as if he has captured on film the way I remember childhood, not the details but the lasting impressions that everything around you leave on your memory at a young age.
posted by nola at 5:43 PM on April 24, 2009


I've never seen Mirror -- thanks for convincing me that I need to do so. I was lucky to have seen Andrei Rublev in college, at a time when prints were hard to come by, shoulder to shoulder with Soviet expatriates who traveled some distance to make the screening. Tarkovsky saw the angel, and his films always seem to me a challenge to become more fully human. Thanks for this.

I hear ya, silence, but not having seen it, it's working for me. If it draws a few more folks into the Tarkovsky fold, there's certainly no more harm done than he endured under the Soviet film bureaucracy. His work isn't for everyone, but it needs to be seen. This may help.
posted by Kinbote at 5:46 PM on April 24, 2009


I know I'm going to seem cynical

That doesn't seem cynical, just sensitive. Something really moving art brings out in any of us.
posted by nola at 5:47 PM on April 24, 2009


I love Part and "Mirror in the Mirror" is gorgeous, but also, it's a regular fixture on my Audio-Ambien nighttime mix. Which is to say this clip made me sleepy.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:50 PM on April 24, 2009


silence is right, in my book. Mirror is a very, very challenging film, and rather anti-nostalgic in its way. Tarkovsky's mission, according to his writing in Sculpting In Time, was to capture the experience of time, actual, passing time, Chronos and Kairos intertwines, which also happens to make his films really, really boring. He requires both of these invested forms of time from his viewers, as well. You must be diligent and lucky to grasp the themes that just barely glimmer in the nearly narrativeless film. To take the work of such a coherent and singular formalist and use it as fodder for what is, in comparison, a cut-a-minute somewhat maudlin music video is a little sad.

Enjoy the video, but just know it ain't the whole Tarkovsky by a long shot. Heheh long shot. Pun.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:57 PM on April 24, 2009


this clip made me sleepy.

True dat. So, I watched Mirror earlier this semester in time travel class (graduate level time travel class. it's not a bad gig.) and the professor told us falling asleep was to be expected, and a idoeologically acceptable way to interact with the film! I tend to agree, but zoiks!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:01 PM on April 24, 2009


Ha. I watched my first Tarkovsky film in an undergrad Russian Film class filled mostly with random State U. students who wanted the easy credits of watching movies in class. The professor, a hardboiled ex-Soviet, clearly relished dumping Stalker on us and watching us squirm.
posted by Bookhouse at 6:15 PM on April 24, 2009


Oh yeah, I always have to check to remember which Tarkovsky films I've seen because I sort of remember them very vividly as being riveting, but in a hazy, trance-y out-of-body-experience way. So whenever I see images like these, I initially find myself wondering, "Have I really seen Mirror or did I just dream it?"
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:20 PM on April 24, 2009


My but that was lovely. Did anyone else see a Pieter Brueghel reference in the snow shot with the bird?
posted by jim in austin at 6:20 PM on April 24, 2009


Oh, nice. Thanks, MaryDellamorte.

24 Preludes for a Fugue is a nice documentary about Pärt. I recommend it to any Pärt fans who haven't seen it.
posted by homunculus at 6:33 PM on April 24, 2009


I'd never heard of this filmmaker until now, but the comments and the video have me curious. Would this be a good title to start with?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:46 PM on April 24, 2009


Would this be a good title to start with?

They're all good, but if you wanted to start with something that has a relatively straight narrative, Ivan's Childhood is probably the easiest way in. Please disregard comments like "really, really boring"; these films work on their own terms and richly repay the viewer's attention.
posted by Wolof at 6:51 PM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Related: the Robert Rich/Lustmord collaboration, "Stalker" (yes, inspired by the film) is wonderfully dark and murky. One of my all time favorite ambient recordings.
posted by davebush at 6:52 PM on April 24, 2009


I just came home from an exhausting night-shift in my bar, and that was just what I neede to calm down again. Thanks!
posted by kolophon at 7:33 PM on April 24, 2009


Please disregard comments like "really, really boring"

The fact is most people I've met include "it was so slow," or "I didn't finish it" or some variation on this theme before they optionally include the mention of their worthwhile victory over with Tarkovsky. Unless they speak Russian, in which case there is a greater incidence of easy appreciation.

It doesn't hurt to have a broad range of expectations when introduced to a filmmaker. Calling Tarkovsky boring is like caling Jodorowsky weird - not a criticism. If that puts you off outright, just try something else. There's nothing else like this, though.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:44 PM on April 24, 2009


Calling Tarkovsky boring is like caling Jodorowsky weird - not a criticism.

I don't think that's fair. Boring is a criticism in a way that weird isn't. To say that Tarkovsky's films are very, very slow is fair and I think different than saying they are boring.
posted by juv3nal at 10:23 PM on April 24, 2009


"Boring" is "not a criticism"? That's not how my 5 year old uses the word, and I suspect her use is mainstream. "Slow", "requires concentration", "less sugar and more vitamins", sure, no problem. But "boring" as a descriptor seems almost calculated to drive prospective viewers off, and that to me is absolutely a net loss.
posted by Wolof at 10:43 PM on April 24, 2009


Yeah, I'm with Wolof there. 'Boring' is a decidedly negative criticism. Being bored... hell, there's almost nothing worse than being bored.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:54 PM on April 24, 2009


You could start with The Sacrifice which I think is more mainstream and accessible than most of his films.
posted by communicator at 11:22 PM on April 24, 2009


Fair enough, I probably just tend to deprecate anything as I fervently recommend it, as a prophylactic sort of strategy. "You may be bored, walk it off, make it work," being my intended message. I don't mind paying lip service to the opposing perspective.

I wonder though if you all are dealing with the same kind of new-media saturated crew that I am. It seems to be getting harder and harder for people not to multitask through movies. Or maybe that's just my gradstudentitis.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:06 AM on April 25, 2009


It seems to be getting harder and harder for people not to multitask through movies.

Yeah, that's getting pretty bad then, I reckon. Hell, people used to actually sit down and listen to music, but I have a feeling almost nobody does that anymore. I don't even expect people to do that, sad to say. But, damn, movies are an aural and visual experience, and if folks are getting to the point where they're just unable to take in a movie with undivided attention (shut off yer gaddam cellphone, fer chrissakes!) then things have gotten pretty bad.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:14 AM on April 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


it was also nice in gerry, #11 :P

re: wit, and also speaking of cinematography, seamus mcgarvey does great work as DP; check out the war zone...

oh and i'd start out with solaris; it's slow, slower than 2001 i think, but (more profound?) the 'dream memory' that FelliniBlank describes* was more vivid for me than say andrei rublev or stalker [+ there's a (bad) remake and a (great) book :]

---
*yea, i _think_ i've seen mirror and the sacrifice before, but i totally don't remember... so i can watch them again for the first time, thanks!
posted by kliuless at 5:38 AM on April 25, 2009


Would this be a good title to start with?

Yes. Not only is Mirror probably my favorite Tarkovsky, all things considered, but at a trim 106 minutes it's much less of an investment than his longer films. (How anyone could consider it "boring" is beyond me. Stalker or Nostalghia, maybe.) The poems quoted several times in the movie are by his father, the great Russian poet Arseny Tarkovsky. (It helps, of course, to know something about Russian and Soviet history; anybody with questions about such things, MeMail me!)

if you wanted to start with something that has a relatively straight narrative, Ivan's Childhood is probably the easiest way in.


While it does have "a relatively straight narrative," and is even shorter than Mirror, it's a very grim movie; you have to be up for a movie about how the horrors of war destroy a young life. I would hate to think of someone settling down in front of their TV thinking they were going to see a charming movie about childhood and getting up an hour and a half later looking as if they'd just been hit by a two-by-four with a few nails in it.

It seems to be getting harder and harder for people not to multitask through movies.


Eh, fuck those people. If they can't sit down and pay attention to a movie, they don't deserve good movies.
posted by languagehat at 6:05 AM on April 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


I would hate to think of someone settling down in front of their TV thinking they were going to see a charming movie about childhood and getting up an hour and a half later looking as if they'd just been hit by a two-by-four with a few nails in it.

I consider myself warned, but what I've read about it so far makes it sound like a very good movie. I'll probably see both titles to start with.

If they can't sit down and pay attention to a movie, they don't deserve good movies.

Hear hear. It absolutely baffles me to see people texting in the theatre. Maybe that's why the last movie I saw in the theatre was Inland Empire.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:36 AM on April 25, 2009


I consider myself warned, but what I've read about it so far makes it sound like a very good movie.

Oh, absolutely! I just thought the advisory was advisable.
posted by languagehat at 7:30 AM on April 25, 2009


Ambroisa Voyer: He requires both of these invested forms of time from his viewers, as well. You must be diligent and lucky to grasp the themes that just barely glimmer in the nearly narrativeless film. To take the work of such a coherent and singular formalist and use it as fodder for what is, in comparison, a cut-a-minute somewhat maudlin music video is a little sad.

To be fair to Pärt though, I'd make the same argument about his musical works. Pärt's minimalism demands attention to subtle changes in tone and emotion over extended time periods, which is why I can't use Pärt for bedtime music. Once I understand the whole point of a work, I really start thinking about how it's developed, and something about his compositions hits me in an extremely emotional way. Although deceptively simple, it demands a different kind of virtuosity because even minor missteps can ruin it.

Although Pärt's works are more and more frequently used in cinema, I don't think he's best understood that way. Spiegel im Spiegel is certainly worth a listen on its own terms.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:38 AM on April 27, 2009


Oh! Thank you for the wake up call, Kirk! I wasn't even thinking critically about the music at all, which is a lazy mistake I can't entirely blame the usual banality of fan video culture for. I'll have to give that a good listen!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:10 AM on April 27, 2009


« Older Scrabble put these out for their 60th anniversary....  |  Rasmussen Reports published a ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments