Soviet Union 1975, 35mm, b/w & color, 108 min. Spanish and Russian with English subtitles
“For the first time,” he resolved, “I would use the means of cinema to talk of all that was most precious to me, and do so directly, without playing any kind of tricks.” Tarkovsky needed twenty rough cuts before arriving at the film’s intricately interflowing system of flashbacks and archival footage, often interpreted as unfolding in a dying artist’s final rays of consciousness. While Mirror, like all Tarkovsky’s films, pays homage to painting, music, and poetry, it also makes plain that the Russian director understood Mnemosyne to be the mother of the muses. Being a poet, he sought not only to retrieve the past but to reveal its essence—and in so doing to redeem an inherently flawed present. “The story not of the filmmaker’s life,” observes Tarkovsky scholar Robert Bird, “but of his visual imagination."
I'm interested here in Robert Bird's description of Mirror. The attempt to render visible the visual imagination is certainly a claim of the Surrealist manifesto and is also an intention for SBSBI...not that I anticipate it being anything like Mirror.
In an essay written just after Ivan’s Childhood’s release, Tarkovsky held that “[a] larger portion of the film must be devoted to the slowly passing minutes of anticipation, delays, and pauses, which are far from being ventilation holes in the narrative progression.” More than twenty years later, in his book Sculpting with Time, he offered a variation on this same theme: “I think that what a person normally goes to the cinema for is time: for time lost or spent or not yet had. He goes there for living experience; for cinema, like no other art, widens, enhances and concentrates a person’s experience.” Tarkovsky placed his trust in the idea that an essential experience of cinema would convey an essential experience of life, as both are made of these same “slowly passing minutes.” In each of his films Tarkovsky struggles to find the form that will hold time’s intimacy and mystery. If there is finally something quixotic in the notion of “sculpting with time,” it is, if nothing else, an idea that reflects a strong faith in the audience’s experience. “You are struck every time by the singularity of the events in which you took part,” Tarkovsky reflected. “The artist therefore tries to grasp that principle and make it incarnate, new each time; and each time he hopes, though in vain, to achieve an exhaustive image of the Truth of human existence.” For Tarkovsky, as for all seekers, the only necessary goal is the impossible one. His films live on in the spirit of that search, with all their extraordinary ambitiousness pointing to a finally unfathomable sense of purpose. – Max Goldberg, writer and frequent contributor to cinema scope.
(the above minus italics is from http://hcl.harvard.edu/hfa/films/2014janmar/tarkovsky.html accessed 24/10/14)