36 questions that will make you fall in love with anyone
What does the life of today’s urban millennials look like? Simon Holý’s Mirror in the Dark is an authentic probe into the life of a social group; so authentic that for viewers of the next generation, the image quality may be difficult to understand or perhaps insufficient.
Fighting your own mediocrity, childhood traumas, finding closeness where it is not, and finding tenderness where you would not expect it. These are the main themes of the feature debut of the Czech director Šimon Holý Mirror in the Dark. Dancer Marie (Alena Doláková) solves a partner crisis with František (Bořek Joura) by playing: the main heroine and her sweetheart lay at each other 36 questions that scientists say you can fall in love with with anyone. We follow the story of a crumbling relationship against the background of an intimate portrait of a purposeful, but only moderately talented dancer and a young woman who solves unwelcome emotions with parties and casual acquaintances for one night and has a problematic relationship with her mother.
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As clichéd as it may sound, Mirrors in the Dark are really a very authentic probe into the lives of today’s thirties, urban millennials who do not have their own housing, but have many reasons to go to therapy. They are lost, so they need an anchor, whether in the form of work or, even more often, a love affair. At the same time, however, he can only establish those relationships, and not maintain them as well.
The film premiered at Karlovy Vary Film Festival, where he was presented in the East of the West competition. The first critics wrote about him as an act with artistic ambitions. However, it is more appropriate to call it visually specific – either because of the black-and-white form or because of the angles of the images that deviate from the mainstream. Yes, the film shows that it was made by a FAMU graduate, but the desire to label Mirrors as an artistic achievement is probably more related to the fact that is clearly aimed at a narrow target group, and therefore less digestible for spectators outside it. It is a deeply personal film about and for millennials.
Bare filmed about what he knew. The main storyline is even inspired by a real event from his personal life. He added a fictional, but believable main heroine to her – the film is based on Maria, the lion’s share is played by the intense acting of Alena Doláková. We watch the dancer really closely and through it we perceive first-hand another typically millennial feature, we see someone who has something to do to keep their own life together … or maybe just running.
For the spectator-millennial, Mirrors in the Dark, rather than as art, look a bit like an entry from the diary of a current man in his thirties living in Prague in Letná or Vinohrady. The individual paintings, although emphatically aesthetic, together form a clear, comprehensive narrative with a civilian message, formulated, among other things, by very well-written dialogues. This is not often seen on the Czech scene. Mirrors in the dark enter cinemas on September 30.
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