Michael Wood writes:
[Tarkovsky’s] Mirror, which explores the historical and personal memories of a dying man, awoke and answered an old concern, born when Harrison saw the newsreel footage of bodies being bulldozed into pits at Belsen. ‘I have never forgotten that introduction to the filming of real life or, in this case, real and terrifying death. Nor how jarring the voice-over narrations were! What narrator could find the right tone for such terror?’ In Mirror the director’s father reads a poem on the soundtrack, an eloquent verbal denial of all the dying so visible on the screen: ‘On earth there is no death./All are immortal. All is immortal.’ Even knowing little Russian Harrison ‘could hear the strong metre and the rhymes of the poem’, and began to think poetry might offer the best or perhaps the only tone for terror.