Tarkovskiye Apartments

by Tanya

Yesterday J. and I went to see The Mirror (Zerkalo) directed by Andrey Tarkovsky. I haven’t yet come up with the right words to talk about the film. It was at times intimately familiar, even though I’d never seen it before. Some of the most beautiful dream sequences I’ve ever seen are visualized in the film. It’s full of heartache, nostalgia, restlessness and urging poetry. I know I will have to see it again, because there are some things I am sure I didn’t catch, particularly since several actors play more than one role.

I love the sounds and the close ups that Tarkovsky created. The textures and the layered fragile details. I also really loved the interior scenes, and in particular the modern day apartment occupied by Aleksei.

Very interesting wall textures, long hallways, gilded mirrors and shelves upon shelves of books. It’s one of those apartments that probably becomes more embellished during our recollections, which is perfectly portrayed in the film. The same exaggerated beauty exists in his childhood home, the wood cottage nestled among the trees in a remote village.

I wonder if there is something in the national character of Russian people that leans towards the deeply textured, a little bit dilapidated homes that are pictured in the films? I am naturally drawn to these kinds of environments. In fact, my dream home would be the exact combination of the tall ceilings and textured walls of the city apartment, combined with the dark wood floors, flickering candles and open front porch of the house in the woods.

Note on the design: The production designer for the film, Nikolai Dvigubsky, doesn’t have a large body of work. Notably, he was the production designer for Konchalovsky’s “Uncle Vanya” and “Siberiade,” as well as the 1989 reimagining of the opera “Boris Godunov.” I’m going to bump up the Konchalovsky films on my list to see if Dvigubsky has a distinct style.