The seven-year-old fiddler (Igor Fomchenko) tries to sneak downstairs to his afternoon recital but is stopped first by neighborhood bullies, then by the sparkle of a mirrored window display, which gives him the world through spider eyes. A smiling girl sits by his side at the cavernous waiting room, he can't get the tempo right for the teacher ("too much imagination"), the apple he had left outside when he went in has been eaten. His new friend is the steamroller driver (Vladimir Zamansky), prole earthiness to the boy's refined artistry -- their camaraderie mutually enlarges their worldviews, though the women in their lives (the boy's mom, the worker's girlfriend) ultimately dissolve the bond. The titular objects become poetic talismans in Andrei Tarkovsky's hypersensitive thesis short, paving roads and playing sonatas are equally deserving of wistful glances, exalted angles and Powell-style color. The camera is mounted on a wrecking ball as it swings into dilapidated Moscow buildings, the wall crumbles to reveal the Seven Sisters edifices gleaming like the Tower of Babel (the boy, hiding from the rain under a black coat, marvels at the spectacle). The magic of music is released under leaky roofs, the red steamroller is reflected upside down with skies and leafless trees in a puddle, the worker treads on it while crossing the image. Losey's The Boy with Green Hair comes into play, Whitman too ("There was a child went forth every day / And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became..."). The finale inaugurates Tarkovsky's dream realm, and finds its completion in The Mirror. With Natalia Arkhangelskaya, and Marina Adzhubei.
--- Fernando F. Croce