Tarkovsky’s THE MIRROR is ultimately, for me, too free-floating. It is a mesmerizing trip through what appears to be a very personal dreamscape. But, without the trappings of a traditional plot, it occasionally devolves into a series of disconnected images.

While watching it, I had an insight into what makes his films mean so much to me, though. Since you are quickly freed from the need to make any narrative sense of the film, it becomes possible to let it wash over you, to let the stretching of time approach the infinite while not worrying about “story,” per se. As time stretches, and as the camera lingers, caresses, hovers, moves in, pulls out, you begin to feel that what is being shown is not a “film” at all but something much closer to real life.

The texture of plaster on a wall, the whorls in the grain of a polished wood floor, the lines in a woman’s face, the movement of wind across a field of grasses … all of these become somehow elemental, in that they are not the “things” themselves, but rather the archetypes that exist beneath the level of language, and which constitute what many regard as “reality.”

That is the gift Tarkovsky has given me, in THE MIRROR: to see the world, for brief moments, as it really is, without the distractions of time and all its accompanying concerns.