The Mirror (dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975) “I had the greatest difficulty in explaining to people that there is no hidden, coded meaning in the film, nothing beyond the desire to tell the truth. Often my assurances provoked incredulity and even disappointment. Some people evidently wanted more: they needed arcane symbols, secret meanings. They were not accustomed to the poetics of the cinema image. And I was disappointed in my turn. Such was the reaction of the opposition party in the audience; as for my own colleagues, they launched a bitter attack on me, accusing me of immodesty, of wanting to make a film about myself.
In the end we were saved by one thing only—faith: the belief that since our work was so important to us it could not but become equally important to the audience. The film aimed at reconstructing the lives of people whom I loved dearly and knew well. I wanted totell 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.
Once you start to speak of things that are precious, you are immediately anxious about how people will react to what you have said, and you want to protect these things, to defend them against incomprehension. We were worried about how future audiences would receive the picture, but at the same time we went on believing, with maniac obstinacy, that we would be heard.”