DTKs March 2022

Magic Mirror                Sarah Pucill
(GB / 2013 / 75 min/ 16mm on DCP )

Part essay, part film poem, Magic Mirror re-stages with astonishing force Claude Cahun’s surrealist black and white photographs and text into a series of vivantes tableaux.

This film was screened at Dream That Kicks back in 2013, it deserves a second look.

The film slowly evolves with precision and tension, the splitting of identity appears as a double which persists throughout; superimposition, shadow, imprints in sand, reflections in water, mirror and distorting glass. Three characters swapping identities between gender, age and the inanimate. Voices separate: different voices, which at times overlap, and at times are in conversation; these are extracts from Cahun’s book Aveux Non Avenus (Confessions Cut Off)

From act to act, each self-contained drama proceeds like series of Noh theatre pieces, the total effect is less that of a present action than of a simile or metaphor made visual, the full comprehension of which stays just out of reach.

The images and words remain echoing, reflecting and refracting in the mind long after the film has finished.

‘…the camera beat, the click of the shutter, runs into the rhythm of the sentence, the full stop. And so the motion of the camera pan turns into that of a sentence. She [Cahun] plays with the grammar of the image, with the camera and the word.’