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Mirror, the [Import]

Margarita Terekhova , Filipp Yankovskiy , Andrei Tarkovsky    Unrated   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
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Mirror, the [Import] + Stalker [Import] + The Sacrifice: Remastered Edition [Blu-ray]
Price For All Three: CDN$ 88.32

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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The challenging depths of memory and time Feb. 22 2004
By A Customer
In his films, Andrei Tarkovsky rarely gives the audience any help in grasping what is happening on the screen. He demands a level of attention and receptivity which is not always automatic with most audiences, since our viewing habits are formed by easier stuff. It's a bit like trying to read Heidegger or Kant after a life of reading nothing but pulp novels. In my estimation "Mirror" is his most difficult film. A depiction of the inner world of a dying man, the film jumps between different eras of the protagonist's life, with sometimes only very subtle connections between them. Shots are often composed for their emotional impact, rather than their narrative effect, the idea being that the audience will feel what the protagonist feels as he reflects on his life.
I often see films described as poetry, but here is a case where that comparison is most precise. Like poetry, layers of meaning are waiting to be discovered in this film. Each time I watch this film it affects me more and more. My last viewing, perhaps my tenth, was the most profound. I encourage everyone to give this film the time it demands, and deserves, because the rewards are great.
The quality of this dvd, like others have written, is not the best. The version put out by Artificial Eye in the U.K. is reported to be superior, and is probably the better choice if you have a multi-region player. I have given this disc 5/5 stars because the film is so great it overpowers the limitations of the disc, and there isn't a compellingly better version available in Region 1 at the moment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant film, terrible DVD Oct. 27 2002
By Vlad
Having watched this movie since I was in my early teens, I have bought the DVD published by KINO ON VIDEO, and oh my, Andrei Tarkovsky must be rolling in his grave knowing what they did to his masterpiece.
For those of you who don't speak Russian, I feel very very very bad for you, because of the terrible translation of the movie. Aside from the poems in the movie, that were previously translated by the professionals, the translation sounds as though it was done by fifth-graders. And not just because it is done in the high-school level English. HALF of the speech is not translated at all--a lot of important chatter is completely missing in the subtitles. Many things are oversimplified and revealed, instead of letting the viewer dig them out him/herself. Those of you who don't understand Russian are doomed to be tortured by such translation and never to reveal the true beauty and meaning of the original script. Having read all of the subtitles, I understood a lot of things in a wrong way, different from the way they were intended in the first place, and had zero satisfaction from the movie. Thank [deity] I'm Russian.
The ugly yellow subtitles can NOT be removed--they will stay on the screen forever while I watch the movie and irritate and upset me with the abovementioned crimes against Art.
The supposedly "black and white" scenes, which originally had a silver-ish quality to them, and some were in sepia, are now in plain B&W a la Fellini's La Strada. I used to have a feeling that the bushes were made out of steel and silver, but not on this DVD.
DVD has ZERO extras, and thank [deity] they divided the movie into chapters for easy scene access, but even there they managed to screw up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I'm never impressed with DVD's ability to handle black and white, but this is barely watchable. Even the colour scenes are terribly pixellated. I don't know why Kino released this - I would have happily paid more for better quality. It's a great shame - they seem to have the rights to several good Russian films, but on the basis of this, aren't able t handle the responsibility. Get VHS. Great film etc etc, but I do feel I have wasted my money.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Impossible to view only once April 13 2004
By dm
I admit that I was not properly prepared when I first watched "The Mirror" (or "Mirror" or "The Looking Glass" or whatever it's really supposed to be called.) It was not my first Tarkovsky movie, but I found it disjointed, confusing, incohesive, etc. I even thought of turning it off in the middle and giving up on it. But as I thought about it the next day, the meanings and symbols slowly became clear. What was confusion and exasperation the night before turned into intrigue and curiosity the next day. I actually watched the entire movie again the next night. What I discovered was a beautifully and poetically created masterpiece that discards the narrative structure in place of disjointed memories and images. The film is more like a painting in that to understand it each portion of the canvass must be mulled over and revisited to get the true impact.
The images in this film are absolutely stunning and unforgetable; the burning barn, milk dripping from an overturned glass...
It may go without saying but this film is for those interested in film as art and not film as blockbuster entertainment. In fact, I'm sure that if this film were shown even in an art house half of the audience would get up and walk out.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unsurpassed Beauty Jan. 19 2003
Be sure to read Vlad's review of the shoddy quality of this DVD. As a non-Russian speaker, I am essentially spared the awful knowledge of just what has been done to this film.
At first viewing, unless you are an incredibly perspicacious viewer, this movie will be utterly baffling, partly because Tarkovsky has gone to such lengths to blur past and present. The same actress plays the protagonist's ex-wife in the present and mother in the past and the same actor plays the protagonist's son in the present and himself in the past. Sometimes the present is in color, the past in black & white; having established this expectation, Tarkovsky then reverses it on you later. Yet other times, dreams are in color and reality is in that tantalizing shade of sepia-color-black & white that Tarkovsky has used elsewhere (especially in "Stalker").
In fact, I was so baffled when I first saw the film that I simply gave up trying to follow the narrative and basked in the intense beauty of the film work. The dream sequence of the mother washing her hair, for instance, is utterly mesmerizing. The long shot that carries us from a table out to witness a burning building is breathtaking in all of the various reflections and reversals of angles it uses along the way. The final shot of an old women and two children walking into a field as the camera pulls slowly into deeper and deeper woods until finally the people are completely concealed by the trees often chokes me up, and I couldn't tell you why. Even the opening scene, simply a conversation on a fence by a field, is an exquisitely choreographed ballet of cinematography.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Do not miss the plot
The points made by other reviewers about this film's nonlinearity and being much like poetry are, of course, valid. Read more
Published on Oct. 26 2009 by Oldthinker
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, Cinematic Poetry
What a brilliant work of cinema. A haunting, beautiful film.
Published on July 19 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking! Buy this movie.
One of the most moving and beautiful films I've ever seen. Contrary to what I'd expected, I found it pretty easy to follow. Sensual AND spiritual. Imaginative AND realistic. Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2004 by Draftsman
4.0 out of 5 stars Hey ! Hey ! Hold your horses !
This is NOT the best film by Andrei Tarkovsky . The best ones was :
1. Stalker
2. Solaris
3. Andrei Rublev
This one was one of the earliest . Read more
Published on Nov. 26 2002 by Vlad
5.0 out of 5 stars Have a good look....
The Mirror is one of the most accessible Tarkovsky's films. I can recommend viewers to start with this film before progressing to other Tarkovsky's oeuvre. Read more
Published on Aug. 6 2002 by "shusd"
4.0 out of 5 stars s-titles
Subtitles are "glued" to the screen, there is no possible way to turn them off, this idiocy spoils the greatnes of the visual sequence...
Published on April 5 2002
2.0 out of 5 stars The slowest movie ever made?
First of all. I love Tarkovskij's movies (most of them) but this one is really something different. The film has not been panned and scanned it was shot in full frame ratio which... Read more
Published on March 4 2002 by "gralle"
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, different, thought-provoking...
The Mirror is an interesting and different movie.
Billed as an intensely personal tale of growing up in Russia in WWII -- it is this -- but this is not what makes the movie... Read more
Published on Jan. 20 2002 by zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasures of the Ineffable
As with all work by the great Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, "The Mirror" is an enigmatic, not quite describable film composed of finely honed imagery and evocative... Read more
Published on Dec 5 2001 by Charles S. Tashiro
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