Bathrooms are special places. That might not be the world’s most startling opening line, you can laugh about it if you so desire, but this doesn’t change the fact that it is undoubtedly a true statement if you think about it for a second. Whether for physiological or other reasons, one goes to the bathroom in order to be alone. Bathrooms are generally small, confined places where one can find privacy and solace. And, as Julie Delpy’s character from ‘Before Midnight’ states at one point, bathrooms are some of the best environments for the proliferation of deep thoughts. Not to mention, the décor is usually quite neutral, and you can clearly gaze at your own reflection and beyond, with a white wall as a background – introspection doesn’t get a more appropriate context than that.
Award-winning filmmaker Sara Eustaquio offers us such an opportunity with her new film, ‘Mirror’. Clocking in at just under 3 minutes, this project doesn’t exactly tell a story in a conventional manner, but rather presents a set of circumstances and elements, then proceeds to let viewers juggle with them as they see fit. Thus, a clear plotline is not forced, and anyone can interpret the events on display through the prism of their own self.
In ‘Mirror’, a young girl, likely a teenager, steps into a bathroom, and engages in a long staring contest with her own reflection. Thus, the theme of the mirror, with all its metaphorical connotations, is established right from the get-go. Just as mirrors reflect and replicate a reality, but do not constitute one themselves in their own right, there might be a discrepancy between the inner and outer self of the girl, between her actual personality and her perceived one. These disparities are reconciled through a conflicting display of emotions, then it all culminates into silence.
Sara Eustaquio astutely displays her talent as a filmmaker – while little acting and no dialogues are involved, she captures the essence of her message (better yet, the many layered essences) through other means. The cinematography is wonderfully worked, and the editing techniques utilized especially grant ‘Mirror’ an air of duality, of inner conflict and struggle. The ominous sound design works perfectly, and although a bit more pervasive, it successfully replicates David Lynch’s constant low hum, a small but incredibly effective element which significantly improves the impact of the somber and captivating atmosphere.
As mentioned before, it is up to each and every one of the individuals who watch this short to decide how to interpret the occurrences in ‘Mirror’. You could go for an ordinary moment of teenage struggle, or you could go as far as thinking that the mirror which the girl insistently glances at before turning on the tap and walking into the shower is inhibited by a sort of demonic force. Clues are scattered through the bathroom – you can make use of them as you construct the girl’s back story, or simply ignore them and build whatever you like out of it. The opportunities are almost endless.