The Mirror – Reflected reliving of a poet in space and time

I measured time by a world-wide walk ,
I passed through it like the Urals range ,
I chose the age upto my own measure .
We headed south , with dust flying away ,
The weeds smoked up ,
And at his own leisure ,
His feeler on the horseshoe ,
The grasshopper forecast ,
He prophesized me death , as if he were a monk .
But with my fate strapped to my saddle fast ,
I’m riding now on my time to come ,
And surging on my stirrups to my own drum ,
My immortality is quite enough for me .
– Arseny Tarkovsky

The aim of art is to prepare a person for death , to plough and harrow his soul , rendering it capable of turning to good
– Andrei Tarkovsky

Self – reflexion was the sole root , subject and purpose for each of Andrei Tarkovsky’s creations , with each cinematic entity he gave birth to forming a bi-directional pathway with his very being .

An artist with the firm belief that the purpose of any art form was to propel first the creator , and then the one surrendering to it on and onwards on the path of the spirit , every creation of his was both a process of exploring his present stage on the journey , and then representing his confluence with it on the screen .

This very confluence would then be experienced in its absolute and minutest entirety , with the being focusing on , perceiving , and rejoicing the beauty of every element, in its tactility , magnitude , sonorousness and aura .

In the very replication of this absoluteness on screen , Andrei aims to pull the viewer into oneness with him, en-route first experiencing this very confluence and then moving onwards on his spiritual journey with Andrei .

The uncluttered viewer en-route experiencing oneness with Andrei first opens up her pathways to empathy, and eventually to infiniteness of being by opening up the channels to oneness .

The cluttered viewer is propelled inside a mosaic composed of his own experiences in space and time , albeit at a period in his life dictated by the themes that the viewed cinematic entity aims to re-experience .

To ascertain the exact stage on the path that The Mirror aims to re-experience and to propel Andrei onwards from , and its significance on the viewer , one has to carefully infer from the chronology of Andrei’s created entities .

The chronology of Andrei’s creations is as follows : –
Ivan’s Childhood
Andrei Rublev
The Mirror
The Sacrifice

Not considering Ivan’s Childhood for reference as Andrei himself termed it as an exercise to determine whether he belonged , let us look at Andrei’s oeuvre Andrei Rublev onwards .

During the creation of Andrei Rublev , Andrei Tarkovsky identified with the perceived objective of an artist in its most puristic interpretation , that of transcending the one surrendering to her creation from the physical realm to the sublime , and during and for the creation of which the artist herself re-discovered her linkages to the sublime .

The creation of the entity Solaris was the resultant and the visual representation of Andrei transcending to the stage where he experienced the sublime in its profound entirety , but which propelled him leftwards on the temporal axis to the very first state of being when the divine is ever present with it i.e. his childhood .

Acknowledging and experiencing the divinity when he became one with his inner child , yet also comprehending the potential lack of free will in the pliancy of this very state , he then embarked on an endeavor to experience his very childhood and the fragments of it dictating his being in the present state and time .

The Mirror is both the fruit of and is this very endeavor .

In The Mirror Andrei bares open his very childhood in its utmost absoluteness , and not just in narrative terms but in the most experiential expression of it .

The technical elements emphasised of as supreme in modern day cinema become subsidiary to his revelatory re-experiencing of his childhood , acting as merely conduits and means in the visual reflection of this very revelation .

The duration of each cinematic unit i.e. shot , the colour palette and its saturation , the pacing of the cinematic entity , the sonorousness accompanying the varying segments and the confluence of masters such as Bach and Purcell to denote the revelationary nature of the profoundness that Andrei experienced , have been designed and decided upon so as to first lay out Andrei’s entire childhood and then his entire being in its utmost absolute, and then for the viewer to attain oneness with Andrei .

The seamless linkaging of the shots attained by ensuring that each cinematic element plays out in its innate entirety and that there is a poetic , logical or sensual association between each cinematic unit , makes The Mirror a living , breathing and pondering entity .

As one surrenders to it , she discovers that The Mirror calls upon her like a river  , one that fills her with rapture from its very essences , and one that takes her on a journey into settings and times of her own very roots as a being , and one that gently dissolves her own walls of perception and polarity , en-route regenerating this very dissolved space with the etherealness of poetry .

She then reconfigures her understanding of her being as to how even the voidness of particular spaces , periods and actions in her  life has composed her profoundness , engagement and her current innerscape .

The guiding lights of poetry as the charioteer of her re-experiencing ensures a subtle and soothing dissolution of her roots en-route making them a part of her very essences , wherein they act as a beneficial aspect in the propulsion of her being and not as the single most binding shackle .

This river takes the shade and hue which is an identical representation of Andrei’s childhood setting .

The colour palette of this river is rich in intensity yet remains both bare and subtle in saturation , indicating both the magnitude of work and the continuous , almost prolonged state of its very application , yet with a bareness of simplicity the river places itself in , one that is to an extent is disempowering for the beings surrendering to it .

In physical realities this river represents erstwhile USSR as a being , one that has grace , poetry and the mystical in its very essences , but one that does not allow its inhabitants to transcend beyond mere cogs in the wheel it has visualised itself as .

This finds resonance with the very setting that many of us formed our building blocks from , and at times by excluding elements from it i.e. India of the 1990’s ; rich in history and the documentation of its learnings , having the presence of the mystical with the same core , but with varying forms in every nook and corner of its being , yet disempowering by its lack of flexibility to accomodate the shades and tweaks of new auteurs due to its reverence to the outermost manifestations of the documentation , yet a disregard for the very spirit of its creation .

The Mirror then inadvertently unveils the communion behind the association of India and the USSR on the physical plane, and the to and fro interchange and its effects on the two i.e. of kindredness of being in the hope of replication .

It also reveals the cause behind the effect of India’s spiral to a new freer , yet simplistic and synthetic reality i.e. the deadlocked shackles imposed by the lack of flexibility of individual choice of action and an attempt to shear through it , albeit by replicating a nation celebrating individual expression yet rooted in nascence , The United States of America .

As a critique of this very entity , I first experienced identification and then oneness with it . A creation so personal , yet infused with so much of the creator’s being that it becomes universal by the virtue of commonality in each one’s core , it resonates with varying intensities , forms and on planes of existence with each viewer , nevertheless finding absolute identicality with me .

Undergoing the same very childhood in replicated spaces and times , albeit in different geographical locations ; experiencing the magnitude in the simplest of activities , the symphonies behind the physical manifestations of nature , the entrancement in the constancy of an action , and the power of storytelling to invoke imagery was my very childhood , and it was experienced by another , then captured on celluloid , for me and the beings of creation to experience oneness using it as a conduit .

As Andrei Tarkovsky himself said , ” Unlike all the other art forms, film is able to seize and render the passage of time, to stop it, almost to possess it in infinity. I’d say that film is the sculpting of time. “

A segment of my being’s fabric was captured as a mosaic for me to be absorbed by , to become one with and to first assimilate it and then reinforce it in my very essence .

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