“The Mirror” - Andrei Tarkovsky (1975)


Andrei Tarkovsky’s fourth film, The Mirror (Zerkalo, 1975), was his most personal work, and perhaps that partly accounts for its great popularity among his admirers [1].  For the British Film Institute’s 2012 polls of critics and film directors concerning the all-time greatest films, The Mirror was ranked 9th on the directors’ poll [2] and 19th on the critics’ poll [3]. Tarkovsky’s own comments about the film reflect how special the film was for him [4]:
"As I began work on Mirror I found myself reflecting more and more that if you are serious about your work, then a film is not the next item in your career, it is an action which will affect the whole of your life. For I had made up my mind that in this film, for the first time, I would use the means of cinema to talk of all that was most precious to me, and do so directly, without playing any kinds of tricks."
In fact the film is virtually a testament to Tarkovsky’s insistence that the film medium transcends the limitations typical of textual narratives and engages the viewer on a direct existentially experiential level.  However, the film’s loose, nonlinear structure also makes it difficult to follow for the average viewer.  Many people only come to appreciate The Mirror after several repeated viewings. 


The subject matter of the film concerns the memories and reflections of a 40-year-old man, Alexei, who has been diagnosed with a terminal health condition. These are told in the form of various separate vignettes from the man’s childhood as well as from his present circumstances, and the sequences jump back and forth in time without much motivation or explanation.  So somewhat like the films created by Tarkovsky’s friend Sergei Parajanov, it is up to the viewer here to assemble these pieces into something meaningful – but we must bear in mind that Tarkovsky did not have a hidden (textual) “message” behind these elements.  They were put together by Tarkovsky from his own personal experiences in an intuitive manner to reflect his feelings rather than thoughts.  This approach led him to specifically use some elements from his own personal life in the filming:
  • The film features a number of poems that were written, and recited on the soundtrack, by his father, Arseny Tarkovsky, who was a famous Russian poet.  In addition the actor who appears in the film as Alexei’s father looks quite a bit like Arseny Tarkovsky did at the diegetic times (30-40 years prior to the filming) of his appearances in the story.
  • Andrei Tarkovsky’s own mother appears in a small but important role in the story.
  • Tarkovsky’s second wife, Larisa Tarkovskaya, also plays a small but significant role in the film.
But though he incorporated elements from his own life, Tarkovsky was still unsure how to structure the tale.  Even working with a screenwriter Aleksandr Misharin, they entered into the filming process with many issues structurally unresolved [4]:
"The scripts of my earlier films were more clearly structured. When we started work on Mirror, we made it a deliberate point of principle not to have the picture worked out and arranged in advance, before the material had been filmed."
This is a dangerous way for a filmmaker to operate, particularly for a director like Tarkovsky who employed lengthy moving camera shots that must be mapped out prior to shooting (in the case of The Mirror, there are only about 200 shots making up he 100-minute film [4]).  Nevertheless, Tarkovsky had his own instinctive cinematic devices, and he once again employed atmospheric sound effects, such as the sound of dripping or slushing water and brisk wind-blowing noises, to provide a moody, contextually-grounded feeling to the film.

The story elements of the film are set in three distinct time periods associated with Alexei’s life:
  • Time1 – this appears to be 1935, when Alexei was about five years old.  Alexei lives in a country home with his mother, Maria, and his younger sister.  Alexei’s father, we later learn, had abandoned the family just prior to this time.
     
  • Time2 – some time during World War II, perhaps around 1942-43.  Alexei’s family has been evacuated to another area and live in a small cottage.
     
  • Time3 – around 1969-70.  Alexei is ill, and his face is never shown in the film.  He is divorced from his wife Natalie, and they have a son, Ignat, who is an early teenager.
The story elements appear out of chronological sequence without evident narrative motivation and are shot sometimes in color, sometimes in black-and-white, and sometimes in a sepia-toned monochrome.  Further complicating the viewer’s discernment is the fact that two key actors play multiple roles in the film:
  • Margarita Terekhova  plays two key roles
    • the thirty-something mother Maria in Time1 and Time2 and
    • the similarly-aged Natalie in Time3. 
  • In addition the same actor, Ignat Daniltsev, plays the young Alexei in Time2 and Ignat in Time3.
There is basically nothing done in terms of makeup or hairstyle to distinguish these multiple roles, so the viewer is clearly invited to partially merge these commonly-acted characters – something that presumably took place in the narrator Alexei’s imagination.  In fact Tarkovsky admitted that his conception of the film went through various stages as he thought about this film project over a number of years [4].
  1. His first conception was to make a film of his personal reminiscences “full of elegiac sadness and nostalgia for my childhood” [4].
  2. He later decided to incorporate his mother’s perspective by interspersing material he planned to obtain by conducting interviews of her.
  3. He finally decided to merge material from his own thoughts and his mother into a complex psychological fabric. 
And then it was only at the last minute that he and Aleksandr Misharin went further and decided to bring together the two major feminine rolls by having Margarita Terekhova play both of them.  This was a most important aesthetic decision, because it essentially makes the feminine roll of Terekhova into the film’s major visual focus.  Although the film consists of Alexei’s reflections, the major subjective theme is his mother and the effect she had on his consciousness.  Even Alexei’s failures with Natalie are cast in his mother’s shadow.

Although any identifiable plot structure to The Mirror seems to be obscure at best, we can say that the film does go through several phases of focus.

1.  Maria
The first phase of the film comprises several sequences, mostly set in Time1.  The focus here is on Maria, Alexei’s mother.   Initially, in a color sequence, she encounters a doctor who has lost his way and wandered over on to here homestead area.  In their brief conversation, the doctor tells her that people are rushing about everywhere and are missing out on the richness of their present existence.  He complains, reflecting Tarkovsky’s own spiritual views, that in this constant rush towards a future, we are not trusting the nature inside us.

Then in black-and-white, Alexei dreams of his mother having her hair washed in slow motion.  Maria here gazes at her reflection in the tiled wall and sees herself as an aged woman (from Time3).  So although the focalization is on Maria, we are reminded that this is all really Alexei’s vision.

After a telephone conversation between Alexei and his mother in Time3, there is an extended and atmospheric sequence showing Maria working for a publisher and being concerned over a possible editing error she has made after a publication has gone to print.  There is a sequence of four lengthy (~one-minute-long) tracking shots of her rushing past the working printing presses and looking for a final-edit copy that she can examine.  She is finally relieved to find out that she had not erred, but shortly thereafter she is reduced to tears when her close colleague unexpectedly and abusively tells her off and calls her a hopelessly selfish person whose ex-husband was right to abandon.  This sequence gets us into Maria’s character, a woman who can worry over work-time issues but can still stop and smile at life’s absurdities, such as subsequently when the water shuts off in the midst of her shower.

2. Alexei   
The next phase of vignettes shifts over more directly to Alexei.  There is a sequence in Time3 when Natalie and Alexei (who, of course, is never seen on camera) argue over who should have custody of their son Ignat. At one point later when Ignat is left alone in the house, he sees an unexplained (as to what her relation to the others in the film may be) woman asking him to read a passage from a book quoting Pushkin’s famous 1836 letter to Chaadaev:
“The division of churches separated us from Europe. We remained excluded from every great event that has shaken it. However, we had our own special destiny. Russia, with her immense territory, had swallowed up the Mongol invasion. The Tartars didn’t dare crossing our western borders. They retreated to their wilderness and Christian civilization had been saved.  To attain that goal we had to lead a special kind of life, which while leaving us Christians, had made us alien to the Christian world.”
This view of the Russian Slavic people’s unique character was undoubtedly a subject in which Tarkovsky, himself, had a strong interest, so he included it in this, his personal work.  After reading this passage, Ignat has to answer a knock on the front door, which reveals a woman that appears to be his grandmother, Maria. But neither the woman nor Ignat recognize each other, and the woman apologizes for knocking on the wrong door.  This brief segment is not only confusing to the viewer, it was confusing even to Tarkovsky [5]:
"There are many complications there which I don't even completely understand myself. For example, it was very important for me to have my mother in some scenes. There is one episode in the film in which the boy, Ignat, is sitting . . . in his father's empty room, in the present, in our times [Time3] ....And as he is sitting there we hear the doorbell, he opens the door. This is my mother. And she is the grandmother of this boy who opens the door for her. But why doesn't she recognise him, why doesn't the grandson recognize her?...one has completely no idea. That is...firstly, this wasn't explained by the plot, in the screenplay, and secondly...even for me this was unclear."
Clearly this was a moment when Tarkovsky’s intuition was dominating his rational faculties. 

This is then followed by material covering the period in Time2 when Alexei and his fellow teenagers were being trained by the Russian military to be snipers.  There is also black-and-white newsreel footage showing the famous Russian military crossing of Lake Sivash in the Crimean WWII campaign (Time2), as well as newsreel coverage Russian atomic bomb blasts and the Sino-Soviet conflict (Time3).  Finally, there is a scene showing Alexei’s father returning from the war front and having a brief reunion with his children (Time2).

Most of these elements show us that Alexei’s concerns were more with external, real-world events in those days than with issues important to his own family.  In fact during another quarrelsome conversation with his divorced wife Natalie, she tells him about a writer she is considering marrying.  But Alexei dismisses the man, whom he calls “Dostoyevsky”, because he hasn’t published anything and is therefore a nobody.

3.  Visit with Nadezhda
The next (and perhaps oddest) phase of the film returns the focus to Maria and Time2.  She and the teenage Alexei go to visit the home of the doctor shown at the beginning of the film.  Nadezhda is interested in purchasing some pearls from Maria, and the way she is portrayed appears to make a clear reference to Vermeer’s famous painting “Girl with a Pearl Earring” (1655).  Again we have a portrayal not of objective reality but of a colored and emotional landscape as remembered by the narrator.  The focus, though, is on Maria, her exhaustion in those moments, as well as her disturbed feelings when she is asked to slaughter a cockerel. 

Inserted in this section is a black-and-white dream shot from Time1 showing Alexei’s father stroking his wife’s hand while she floats in mid-air above her bed. 

4.  Closure
The final phase shows a growing conflation of Alexei’s memories as he nears death.  The young Alexei of Time1 is shown talking to his mother, Maria, in the yard, but when he looks at her he sees an old woman, the Maria of Time3.  There is also a memorable 90-second panning shot in Time1 that comes to rest on Alexei’s father and the presumably pregnant Maria lying in the grass and thinking about what will be the sex of their expected child.  So Alexei’s reflections have finally come all the way back to the womb, backc when he and his dear mother were one.

The final shots, including a contemplative 90-second panning shot to close the film, show the old Maria (Time3) walking with the young children and Maria of Time1.  All of Alexei’s memories have now converged into a jumble of impressions and feelings.



So what we have in The Mirror is a relatively unstructured look into the fragmented thoughts of a man’s consciousness.  For Tarkovsky, this kind of exploration was an example of what he considered to be the raison d’etre of aesthetic creativity [4]:
"The allotted function of art is not, as is often assumed, to put across ideas, to propagate thoughts, to serve as example. The aim of art is to prepare a person for death, to plough and harrow his soul, rendering it capable of turning to good."
With specific regard to The Mirror, Tarkovsky said [4],
"I wanted to tell the story of the pain suffered by one man because he feels he cannot repay his family for all they have given him. He feels he hasn’t loved them enough, and this idea torments him and will not let him be."
Did Tarkovsky really succeed in this effort to probe and portray the raw essence of conscious experience?  I have my reservations about that, and I think what he has presented in this film does not quite compensate for the absence of an identifiable narrative journey.  Nevertheless it was to my mind a bold and innovative undertaking on the authors’ parts.  And it was immeasurably assisted by the magnetic performance of Margarita Terekhova in the two key emotive roles.  She evinces all the complexity and vitality that invigorates the life around us – if we only take the time to engage in it fully with all our love and compassion.
★★★

Notes:
  1. Jugu Abraham, “146. Russian maestro Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Zerkalo” (Mirror/The Mirror) (1975)”, Movies that make you think, (2 June 2013).
  2. “Directors’ Top 100", Analysis: The Greatest Films of All Time 2012, British Film Institute, (2012).
  3. “Critics’ Top 100", Analysis: The Greatest Films of All Time 2012, British Film Institute, (2012).  
  4. Andrey Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time: Reflections on the Cinema,  University of Texas Press Austin (1986, 2000), quoted in Diane Christian and Bruce Jackson (eds.), “Conversations About Great Films: Andrei Tarkovsky The Mirror 1974”, Goldenrod Handouts, Buffalo Film Seminars, (IX:13), The Center for Studies in American Culture, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY (16 November 2004).
  5. Matthew Sheldon, “Mirror, The (1975)”, Classic Art Films, (31 July 2015).        

Sergei Parajanov

Films of Sergei Parajanov:

“Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” - Sergei Parajanov (1965)


Sergei Parajanov (originally “Sarkis Parajanian”, 1924-1990), like his friend Andrei Tarkovsky, managed to create a number of highly original and artistic films despite working under restrictive and oppressive conditions imposed by the government in Soviet Russia. An Armenian born in 1924 in Georgia, USSR, Parajanov studied at the famous VGIK school of cinematography in Moscow under Aleksandr Dovzhenko among others.  But even at an early age his creative attitude and independent lifestyle made his path difficult.  In 1948 he was sentenced to a five-year prison term.  (Although he was released from this prison term after three months thanks to an amnesty, Parajanov was repeatedly imprisoned over his remaining years for expressing his views.)  In 1950 he married a Tatar Muslim woman, but her conversion to Parajanov’s Christianity and the demented notion of “honor killing”, which is still prevalent today in some backward regions, led to her being murdered by her own brother. 

After his wife’s murder in 1951, Parajanov moved to Kiev, Ukraine, and entered the film industry there, where he made a number of conventional feature films and documentaries.  But it wasn’t until 1965 that Parajanov came to international attention when he made his first highly original masterwork, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Tini Zabutykh Predkiv).  Based on the novella by famed Ukrainian author Mikhaylo Kotsyubinsky (1864-1913), the film recounts the doomed, romantic life of a young man growing up among  the isolated and provincial Hutsul (aka Gutsul) community in the remote Carpathian Mountains of Western Ukraine.  Although upon the film’s release the authorities and local press denounced the work for not conforming to Soviet nationalist cultural values (referred to as “Social Realism”), it was well received abroad.  It quickly won 16 foreign film festival awards and immediately established Parajanov as a major figure in world cinema [3].


What attracted wide critical acclaim for Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, though, was also a source of confusion for analysis: the film’s wildly over-the-top cinematography and mise-en-sceneParajanov and his cinematographers, Yuri Ilyenko and Viktor Bestayev, used a panoply of extremal camera techniques to provide a unique visual presentation of the story. It is almost as if the movie camera is an extra character in the tale.  This certainly gave the film a robust flavor of peasant pageantry, as if one were watching an extravagant village folk festival.  But the techniques used also violated many film narrative conventions and seemed almost intended to confuse the viewer.  As film critic David Clark remarked [3]:
"To say that Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors violates every narrative code and representational system known to the cinema is an understatement—at times, in fact, the film seems intent upon deconstructing the very process of representation itself."
Among the cinematographic techniques used were

  • Wildly moving hand-held panning and tracking shots.  In many cases the cameraman is evidently running after a character, as the camera bumps and sways up and down to the jogging motion of the person holding the camera and chasing the action.
     
  • Circular swish-pans.  In some cases the camera does several 360-degree pans in succession.
     
  • Very low-angle shots looking upwards at characters.
     
  • Obscured views, as the camera looks at action that is obscured by branches or wooded building slats.

  • Slow-motion action scenes.
     
  • Tight closeups of characters who are many times looking straight into the camera (and thereby breaking the “fourth wall” of narrative presentation). 

  • Heavy use of extreme wide-angle lens shots in scenes involving character movement.  This gives an unrealistic, head-spinning feeling to these scenes as characters move towards or away from the camera.
     
  • Rapidly elevating crane shots.  The camera would start at head-level and then elevate quickly to look down on the same scene.
     
  • Camera pans from objective to subjective perspective: 
    • The camera starts with a view of one person looking at something off-camera (objective view).
    • It then rather nonsensically pans upward, looking straight up into the sky.
    • Then it pans downward to a view of what the character was looking at (subjective point-of-view).
       
  • Extremal use of color. The images sometimes shift from vivid to faded coloring, and sometimes to black-and-white.  At other times a high-contrast image with a narrow color range gives an ethereal feeling to a scene.
These camera techniques are combined with a lively musical sound track featuring Ukrainian folk ballads accompanied by traditional instruments, notably jaws harp (aka Jew’s harp) music in order to create an affective atmosphere.  The viewer is almost forcibly immersed into the scenes presented.  Some people might be put off by these effects and complain that the film looks like a new film-school student’s efforts to try everything with the camera.  I would agree that not all of these camera procedures in the film work effectively, and some of them are so contrived as to distract and distance the viewer at times.  However, Parajanov was a seasoned professional at this point and clearly had artistic control.

The story begins sometime in the 19th century with an opening comment about the film’s setting:
“The Carpathians, a Gutsul land forgotten by God and people.”
And as the film proceeds, the viewer is given a closeup view of the coarse, full-bodied, and passionate world of these rustic people.  The focal character is Ivan, who first appears as a young boy of about ten years of age.  He attends a church ceremony, where his father insults a wealthier member of their local community, Gutenyuk, who he says is satanic.  The viewer is plunged into the intensity of the father’s contempt by showing his denunciation in tight closeup looking straight into the camera.  The two enemies immediately face off with axes outside the church, with Gutenyuk’s axe, seen head-on, splattering the camera lens with the father’s blood and killing him.

At the ensuing funeral of Ivan’s father, the boy strikes up an acquaintance with Gutenyuk’s young daughter, Marichka.  And this is a key to the narrative style of the film.  While his father’s death was undoubtedly traumatic to Ivan, his meeting with Marichka is what he remembered most about that time in his life – meeting a girl that he would come to love.  Throughout the film, the viewer is given not so much a fully structured narrative, but experiential fragments – the precursor mental images that are lodged in a person's memory and subsequently used to construct the narratives that he or she will later tell about himself (even to himself).  These are presented in the film as impressionistic vignettes – sometimes just as remembered routine activities, sometimes as key remembered moments.  These precursor-to-narrative vignettes are not always told from Ivan’s point of view, however, and so it as if the viewer is an intimately involved (but invisible) empathic participant in the story.

The film then proceeds through twelve separate titled segments outlining the course of Ivan’s life.  In the first of these segments, “Ivan and Marichka”, we see that even though the two young people are from families that hate each other, they become friends.  And as they grow up they gradually fall in love. 

These early scenes about their growing love are moving and lyrical, with the camera lovingly circling all around them as they sensitively interact, in stark contrast to the earlier brutality of the father’s death.  Eventually, though, a now grownup Ivan has to go work in another area as a hired shepherd, and he and Marichka must separate for a season.  But they promise to think of each other whenever they look up into the heavens at their favored star.  After they part, Marichka is walking outside and meets a busybody old woman who feels her tummy and says, “oh, it’s full”, suggesting that Marichka is pregnant  with Ivan’s child.

The following segment, “Meadow”, shows the bucolic life and routines of the Hutsul shepherds.  Then one evening Marichka, while thinking of Ivan, wanders outside to look at their favorite star and encounters a lamb in danger of falling off a cliff.  But in her attempt to rescue the lamb, she falls into the river and drowns.  Ivan, sensing that something is wrong back home, rushes back and is heartbroken to learn what happened.

 
The film now moves into the black-and-white “Loneliness” segment depicting Ivan’s grief over his lost love.  After some years of Ivan’s grieving, though the concerned local people do manage to get him to rejoin society.  The pace of action slows down as the film moves further into the coverage of local color.  A voluptuous young woman, Palagna, becomes attracted to the now partially rejuvenated Ivan, and soon they are engaged to be married.  The film covers the local pageantry of Hutsul weddings, with Palagna’s joyful participation in their being “yoked” in holy matrimony energizing the goings on.

Although Palagna is sensuous and vibrant, Ivan cannot forget Marichka, and he still moons over his lost love. Sometimes he has visions of Marichka appearing just outside the window looking soulfully at him. He has no passion for his new wife, and he appears to withdraw from her lustful embraces.  Hoping to have a child, Palagna turns to what many of the locals do in difficult circumstances: sorcery.  She starts seeing a local sorcerer, Yurko, who is full of boastful machismo, and she soon becomes his mistress.

At the tavern, Ivan observes the arrogantly scowling sorcerer caressing his wife, and a violent confrontation becomes unavoidable.  In a 34-second shot, Ivan is shown circling around the tavern interior and struggling with what he is going to do about Yurko.  They finally confront each with axes (just like his father had done with Gutenyuk), and Yurko strikes Ivan forcefully.  The succeeding 70-second shot shows the now-stunned Ivan reversing his circular path around the room, but this time everything is in a dreamlike slow motion, with a ghostly high-contrast and red-tinged image.

While Palagna calls Yurko her darling, Ivan staggers outside and down a desolate, charred slope to a river bank.  There he sees a vision of Marichka, and they talk of their undying love.  As Ivan dies, her hand reaches out to touch his.

The final segment shows the burial of Ivan, with the village life returning to inebriated boisterousness as the vodka flows at the wake ceremony.



Although Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is full of vibrant and emotion-filled imagery, the film’s unusual mise-en-scene has led to a diversity of interpretations as to its meaning. The issue concerns how one sees the narrative role of the camera, which is the unseen witness to what happens.  Clearly the camera does not play the role of an objective observer.  As Bohdan Nebesio has observed [4],
“The representational [my emphasis] role of the camera is deliberately undervalued at the expense of its active emotional involvement.”
But what is the camera’s concern? Ultimately Nebesio asserts that the film’s final sequence reflects a commitment to life and a rejection of death.  Perhaps along similar lines, J. Hoberman feels that the camera’s narrative stance is to represent the collective consciousness of the Hutsul people [5].

David Clark suggests that the film is not a narrative at all and is instead something of a quasi-religious essay [3]:
“The effect of both the soundtrack and the color system, like that of the film's optical distortions and dislocations, is to destabilize the spectator perceptually, and therefore psychologically, in order to present a tale that operates not at the level of narrative but of myth: youth passes from innocence to experience to solitude and death in a recurring cycle, eons upon eons. This is the "shadow" of "forgotten ancestors," the archetypal pattern that outlasts and transcends all individual identity.”
I would argue, on the contrary, that the film is indeed a narrative and that we need to consider the nature of how we understand the world in order to fathom Parajanov’s tale.  When we experience things in the world and try to make sense of our interactions, there are various levels of our comprehension. These are basically models of the world as seen from different levels of abstraction.  Although we might consider these levels to be merely arbitrary designations along a continuous scale, I will suggest here three levels:
  1. At the lowest level there are merely brief sequences of images and feelings that come to be lodged in our memories.  These are not just snapshots; they have a temporal element to them and they are essentially the retained outcomes of interactions.
     
  2. At higher levels are the narratives we construct from the material of Level 1.  These are the stories that we read and watch, as well as the stories we tell about ourselves.  But they always have a narrative (i.e. narrator’s) focus.
     
  3. At the highest levels are our “objective” models of the world.  In these models, the personal, subjective perspective is removed, and we presume to have an objective understanding of the world that is independent of any personal perspective.  Thus they are presumed to be scientific (i.e. independently confirmable).
When we use the written word, we ordinarily communicate our understandings at Levels 2 and 3.  But film has the unique capability of representing things at Level 1.  This is where much of Parajanov’s work resides.  Many of the sound and image sequences of Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors are essentially reflective of Level 1 experience [6].  It is up the viewer to take this raw material and develop his or her own understanding of what has been shown.

A friend asked me recently what is a “second-person narrative”?  She knew what a first-person and a third-person narrative perspective are, but was puzzled by what a narrative in the second person could be.  Now I am not an expert on this terminology, but it seems to me that Parajanov’s mise-en-scene could offer something of a second-person perspective in this regards.  It is up to you to take his impressionistic material and make sense out of it.


And the narrative understanding that I constructed from watching the film differs from those of the aforementioned critics.  They saw things from the “life goes on” perspective – the local folk culture’s extensive rituals that are presumed to be communal and extend beyond individual hopes and dreams.  From that point of view, the film’s ending is supposed to be a happy one.  But I saw things differently. To me the film is about eternal love – something wonderful that can elevate existence to the sublime – and how that love can appear even in the midst of somewhat brutish circumstances.  The closing sequence of the film, which shows the world sliding back into drunkenness, was not a happy one, but merely provides a contrast to the heavenly feelings that Ivan and Marichka felt for each other.  And even if their time together was short, their love was eternal. 

What Parajanov presents in Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is not a thesis, but the raw material from which you can arrive at your own thesis.
★★★

Notes:
  1. "Sergey Paradzhanov”, New World Encyclopedia, (23 March 2015).
  2. Roger Ebert, "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors”, RogerEbert.com, (30 January 1978).
  3.  David A. Cook, “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: Film as Religious Art”, Post Script 3.3 (1984). See also
  4. Bohdan Y. Nebesio, “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: Storytelling in the Novel and the Film”, Literature/Film Quarterly 22.1 (1994): 42-49. 
  5. J.  Hoberman, “It Takes a Village”, The Village Voice, (23 October 2007). 
  6. I would also venture to say that Wong Kar Wai’s films operate at this level, too.

Luis Bunuel

Films of Luis Bunuel: