Unlike his contemporary Soviet directors, Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986) had demonstrated in his work a personal, original vision that placed him alongside Godard, Bergman, and Fellini as one of the major European filmmakers of our time.
Tarkovsky's seven features have each won numerous prizes at international festivals, including the Golden Lion at Venice, the Grand Prize at San Francisco, and at Cannes, the Special Jury Prize (twice) and the Grand Prize for Creative Cinema.
Three years after making his sci-fi meditation, "Solaris," Tarkovsky directed "The Mirror," a film that’s more autobiographical than any he had made before or since. "It is the story of my mother and thus part of my own life," he said at the time. "The film contains only genuine incidents. It's a confession."
Tarkovsky's parents separated in 1935, when he was three-year-old. "The Mirror" can be seen as his way of the director’s exorcising repressed feelings from his childhood. His father, Arseni, was a well-known poet of the period. Voice-over readings of his father's poems and unusually subjective associations lead through powerful, lyrical images.
Unfortunately, the Soviet authorities disapproved of "The Mirror" and its domestic release was restricted. Soviet audiences were surprised to see a film with an open-ended, ambiguous narrative and innovative, unorthodox visual style that was considered revolutionary by standards of their national cinema.
"The Mirror" was better received in the Western world, where there was a more established tradition of self-reflexive, autobiographical cinema. Several film critics pointed out the influence of Ingmar Bergman, Fellini, and Alain Resnais with their grave, introspective themes on Tarkovsky’s work in general and "The Mirror" in particular.
Andrei Tarkovsky was born in Moscow on April 4, 1932. In Tarkovsky's own words, "During my high school period I attended the School of Music, and I did some painting. In 1952, I enrolled in the Institute of Oriental Languages, where I studied Arabic. All this wasn't for me." He left school to join a geological research group on an expedition to Siberia, where he remained for nearly a year and produced a whole series of drawings and sketches. Then, in 1956, he entered the State Institute for Cinema (VGIK), to study under Mikhail Romm.