Little boy looks at something or someone in a mirror without knowing what a mirror is, what a reflection is. Music is playing in the background, children’s tunes. We recognise them. We remember. They evoke the memories, the feeling of innocence we once had. Everything was yet to be discovered. The world was open, magic, mysterious, insubstantial. A beautiful panoramic ‘tableau’ introduces the film.
Autumn colours, a man on a bridge with his own reflection in the lake. A romantic picture, I’m overwhelmed by melancholy, also when the scene is repeated later on in the film, when the child is no longer alone in front of the mirror but joined by human beings at later stages of their lives. A young man who closes his eyes to understand himself or enjoy himself. An older man who communicates with the child. They clap their hands to the music, three generations in front of the mirror in the children’s room, the setting for the entire film. A corridor, some toys, a white, transparent cloth with shadows behind it and a door to the right we don’t see but through which the child comes and goes. Returning to the mirror, most of the time to fight with what he sees. It is sometimes pretty tough when he knocks at the mirror, it actually looks like he is fighting against his own picture. “A sad film,” a friend of mine, a colleague of Kossakovsky, said after the screening. In a way, yes, if you see it as a film about a child who discovers himself and later his loneliness, as represented by the man on the bridge and the young man who closes his eyes: “Me. Who am I?” But also a film about seeing the world and oneself for the first time. The father, Victor Kossakovsky, is the witness, as we are, to the process of ‘discovering’. A discovery that is given to us in another masterly thought minimalist observational set-up of a documentary-confirming that the best documentaries are those which give us many layers open to thought and deal with philosophical questions.