Magic Mirror

Country: UK
Duration: 90 mins
Sound: Stereo
Ratio: 4:3
Available Format/s: HD Digital file
Original Format: 16mm film


‘An association is made between the hand-held mirror and a camera. Both close in on the face as make-up is applied; 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.’– Sarah Pucill, Printed Project, issue 15, 2012, p.94Part essay, part film poem, Magic Mirror translates the startling force of Claude Cahun’s ouvre into a choreographed series of Vivantes Tableaux. Re-staging the French Surrealist’s black and white photographs with selected extracts from her book Aveux Non Avenus (Confessions Cut Off), the film explores the links between Cahun’s photographs and writings.Cahun’s multi-subjectivity, as expressed in both her photographs and book, set the scene for the film, where she dresses and makes her face up in many different ways, swapping identities between gender, age and the inanimate. Three women masquerade as Cahun’s characters: often it is hard to tell them apart. The splitting of identity appears as a double which persists throughout; as literal double through super imposition, as shadow, imprints in sand, reflections in water, mirror or distorting glass. Likewise, the voice is split between differently dressed voices, which at times overlap, and at times are in conversation. The kaleidoscope aesthetic that runs through the film serves not only to weave between image and word but also between the work of Cahun and the films of Sarah Pucill, creating a dialogue between two artists who share similar iconography and concerns.Direction, camera and edit: Sarah PucillLighting & Second Camera: Rina YangKey Performers: Andro Andrex, Rowina Lennon, Kate HartSound mix & Re-recording: Konrad WelzSound Design assistance: Fernando Calleja LopezHair + Make-up: Amanda RudkinCostume + Props: Lucy Vann, Jessica Cheetham,Voice-over: Helen McGregor, Rowena Lennon, Clarissa Hagan, Cecilia Gragnani, Marcia FarquharSelected text from Aveux Non Avenus, Claude Cahun, 1930. Edited Sarah Pucill, translated by Rachel GommeFunding Support from Arts Council England

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