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Tarkovsky's Zerkalo (Mirror) - the most haunting film of my life

Zerkalo/Mirror, director Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975.

And so back to Andrei Tarkovsky’s magnificent Zerkalo (Mirror), perhaps the most haunting film of my life. 

Moments from it are vivid to me in a way that has nothing to do with entertainment. It is the closest I have ever seen film come to poetry, and of course it features the beautiful rhythms in Russian of Tarkovsky’s father’s poems (Arseny Tarkovsky, an important poet). A film to be watched repeatedly, to remind you of the richness, beauty, decay and mystery of life. 

Right now it makes me think of glorious summer nights, and of bacteria and fungi, our intertwined neighbors on this planet. And, of course, of plaster falling from a ceiling. Or a bottle rolling across a table.

My single favorite moment comes when a great wind blows across a field of tall grass or wheat, as a woman, Maria (Margarita Terekhova, who in effect plays Tarkovsky's mother, since the film is autobiographical), watches a man approaching in the distance.

She is sitting on a rather frail wooden fence. The fence breaks as he approaches and she falls. She laughs. He helps her up. That's all that happens, really. Yet that scene has been fixed in my mind since the first time I saw it.

Seek out Mirror and watch it. Then watch it again, perhaps a year later. Once is not enough, it is a complex film, but also one that requires time and patience, to seep into your soul.

(This is based on my original Tumblr post, which features the beautifully crafted gif files above, created by


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