Mirror (2016) Poster

(VI) (2016)

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'Mirror' is the work of a pro
utahfilmsawards16 April 2017
'Mirror' is a short film presenting diverse but antithetical emotions playing on a young girl who could be suffering from a functional interference. The conflicting, sporadic paroxysms of emotions are portrayed by Jaimie Marchuk very skillfully and naturally. The brief moments of realization between every little transitory expression are captured expertly in such short film. The principal idea of the story may have been intentionally left to interpretation to direct the attention of the audience to the profundity of the plight the girl is in. It is critical for a film of such short length to convey the subtlety to achieve the intended response.

The opposite setting of the bathroom renders the plot its significance without a trail of ambiguity. When Evelyn - the name of the protagonist could be assumed from the divulging element that appears in the end - stares into the mirror at her insensible reflection, a train of conflicting and uncontainable emotions speed through her mind not intercepting the normal flow of activity even in the abandonment of her mental faculties. The creativity in editing could be seen during the rapid switch between the girl's emotions which may seem to happen concurrently, one in reality and another in her muddled thoughts during the shower. It could also be esoteric when one interprets the quick successions to be a realization of what she has done to herself incorporated into the regret she is feeling, but as mentioned before, the plot is very intelligently left to a gamut of interpretations. However, the way she keeps thumping the bathroom wall could only be understood as her self-accusation for her actions leading her to the situation she was in, and her incapacity towards the same.

The handling of the camera is deciding in this genre, and in such confined environment to deliver the urgency, and to elicit the viewers' involvement, which is brilliantly done. The implementation of the objects coming into focus very slowly is really appreciable; it is the work of a pro. The director has a great confidence in the plot and her complete involvement, and belief in it rendered such artistic film. A shout-out to the sound department; it was of great influence to the plot and is in accordance with the gravity of the scene all the way.

When the girl comes out of the shower and seats herself on the toilet, the antithesis of the reality will be revealed in the mirror. It might be a deliberate attempt or could be a mistake in editing, but the character in the mirror is seen adjusting her hair, and out of the character. Again the incomplete disclosure of the prescription bottle could be an act of intention too. One will be expecting to see what she has been going through which led to such a climax, but the plot with no premise will leave no such trail.

The idea of 'Mirror' is very profound and the beauty of the film lies in it. The one important episode is what is to be presented and that was done with authority. An artist who could deliver such an amazing film with almost no dialogue and no established story in such short stretch is sure to go a long way in the art of storytelling. Kudos to the team.
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A wonderful piece of filmmaking
bsccinefest16 April 2017
'Mirror', the most recent microfilm from young award-winning Sara Eustaquio, is a beautiful and gripping depiction of duality, whatever its form. In the confined space of a bathroom, the protagonist, a young girl, insistently stares at her reflection in the mirror and experiences a conflicting array of emotions, ranging from laughter to shock and desolation. The ending revelation also brings about a split in dimensions: that which is real and that which is hidden behind appearances.

The project excels both technically and artistically: the cinematography and direction are very much on point, and their main merit is the creation of an eerie, unnerving atmosphere which governs the entire occurrences taking place in the bathroom. The music is carefully picked: it never becomes intrusive, and constantly provides added-value, situating itself in perfect rapport with the action. This is further punctuated by the sound mixing and the editing as well - quick alternations between shots of the girl happily laughing and sequences which portray her anguish and desperation, with her soaked hair covering her makeup-smeared face. An unfocused shot slowly clarifies, revealing one last vital piece of information before the credits role – all done with remarkable taste and subtlety.

As mentioned before, the main theme of 'Mirror' could be duality. Depending on the plot's interpretation, however, this could either be related to the manner in which the girl showcases her inner thoughts and feelings – she looks happy outside but is distraught inside – or the conflicting mind over the decisive action she has just undertaken – slinging from the relief emanating from ensuring​ freedom to dread over the act's finality ​and the fear of unknown. ​ Through 'Mirror', Sara Eustaquio has created two dense and thoughtful minutes of storytelling, with an overarching message that can be freely generalized and interpreted. This is a wonderful piece of filmmaking that is sure to receive the acclaim it deserves.
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'Mirror' Is A Psychological Short That'll Reflect Your Thoughts
indieshortsmag16 April 2017
The film opens to the moving reflection of a girl. She is a young adolescent, yet to taste the prime of her life, but the mirror tells another tale. Her slumped shoulders having already accepted defeat, the reflection seems aged. Disillusioned, she sinks to the closet while the mirror continues to hold her image. The camera alternately swaps between her real self and the reflection and we begin to see the dichotomy.

Written & directed by Sara Eustáquio, 'Mirror' is a powerful short of 2:45 in duration of a troubled teenager. The narration is bereft of any dialogues and music, solely hanging on the expertise of the cinematographer and a solid story to follow. The background score is used rather generously to accentuate the time-line of the narrative giving you sufficient cues to the impending turn of events.

Eustáquio's camera is swift to capture the fleeting moments, interchanging between wide- angles and close-ups to help you know of the juxtaposition that is about to play. A mirror is often presumed to be the bearer of transparency and truth, but here it is used to the devastating effect of coercing you to examine everything that you see including yourself.

The sole protagonist of this film, Jaimie Marchuk is good. Sans dialogues, she lets her mannerisms and body language be the storyboard. The editing is neat, even aiding the pace of the film. However, this isn't a film for popcorn munchers, this one requires you to reflect and draw your own understanding out of the visual. Although with every unfolding scene you know the inevitable ending it is to have, you hope against hope to prove yourself wrong.
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A combination between Bunuel's 'An Andalusian Dog' with the modern vibe that is prone to produce strange surprises to the chosen ones
Sara Eustaquio's 'Mirror' is that kind of experimental film of which the viewer is free to make his own interpretation of the subject in discussion. Of course, the narrative line is quite simple, but the lack of spoken dialogue and the ultra descriptive actions of the main character are enough to make 'Mirror' the story containing may other stories. We say that because it is something we've seen in literature, this kind of fragmentary narrative that can easily make the viewer imagine his own independent back story. As an literary example, we will use Augusto Monterosso's 'The Dinosaur', an ultra short story that goes like this: "When he awoke, the dinosaur was still there." This short story, actually claimed to be one of the world's shortest stories ever written, has thousands of studies and interpretations based upon it, thousands of possible back-stories and possible continuations, and all based on this one sentence that is so powerful and filled with symbolism, a sentence that changed the literary world as we know it. ​

Being very much alike Monterosso's short story, 'Mirror' has the ability to make you imagine a possible action that happened right before the young girl found herself alone in the bathroom, having a first encounter with the "woman in the mirror". Also, the girl before a mirror is the main theme of one of Picasso's paintings that is quite controversial and, as the short story we talked about earlier, discussed in thesis by many experts.

This short experimental film has indeed many possible interpretations, and the controversy should not be left out whilst talking about it. For us, the whole movie experience was a combination between Bunuel's 'An Andalusian Dog' with the modern vibe that is prone to produce strange surprises to the chosen ones.
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Deeply impressive what a 17-year-old teenager can do with a movie camera
awardsbestfilm8 May 2017
Sara Eustáquio is one of the few film directors that at the tender age of 17 years old manages to create a powerful yet beautifully structured story, without using a cliché-istic approach like the rest of the teenagers tend to do when they start making their first short films.

The entire film is focused on the feelings and the emotions of an obviously disturbed girl. After reaching home, she goes straight to the bathroom, starring insistently in the mirror like she is arguing with her inner self, perhaps looking for an answer to her problems. The film doesn't use spoken language, so we can't find out more about the main character, but this isn't even necessary. Her body language and expressiveness is full of meaning, giving an absolutely remarkable performance for such a young and inexperienced actress. Through the carefully taken shots, her personality is enhancing little by little and the impact upon the viewer gets more intense. At some point, the audience reaches to even empathize with her state of mind, even if we don't know with what issues she was dealing after all.

One of the details we appreciated the most was the creativity and the courage to experiment with diverse techniques. Starting from the close-up images shot from different angles to the alternative editing that gives a dynamic and turmoiled atmosphere, this film really stands out from the crowd and reveals some amazing skills that we often don't see even at the more experienced filmmakers. Also, the sound design was very profound, underlining perfectly every moment of the film, growing in intensity and evoking the feelings of loneliness, estrangement, ​and fear. ​ We gotta say that we were deeply impressed of what a 17-year-old​ teenager can do with a movie camera and we are looking forward to see other projects from Sara Eustáquio, hoping that someday we will see a feature film as beautiful and powerful as her short films are.
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Impressive filmmaking skills from editing, makeup right through to direction
largofilmsawards20 May 2017
Quite often the most simple of films portray the deepest meanings and the most honest explorations. Within this short film, we see on what of these films. One young girl in a bathroom seems on the surface like not much of a film, yet once you start scratching the surface you begin to see the different levels and layers to both the character and the film.

The level of emotion and understanding of mental health is astounding in such a short film. To show the differences between what we display to the world and what we privately display to ourselves is deftly articulated. Alongside this, we see the internal struggle between emotions and the tug of war many individuals dealing with mental ill health have to face on a daily basis.

Aside from the fantastic construction and narrative, the performance of the young actress is admirable. To be able to portray such intense and raw emotion without any dialogue and very short screen time displays a connection the art and to the character she is portraying.

The film displays adept and impressive filmmaking skills from editing, makeup right through to direction. When all aspects of producing a film come together the result should can. E exciting, and this is what we are seeing here. A raw and emotional piece of film that is a testament to the cast and crew and their abilities.
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A surprisingly bold and sophisticated for a 17-year old's second short film
oychyfilmawards7 June 2017
"Mirror" is surprisingly bold and sophisticated for a 17-year old's second short film, in that it makes a lot of sophisticated artistic decisions rarely seen from such a young filmmaker. Despite her inexperience, Sara Eustáquio manages to create a clear emotional experience in a non-narrative (or perhaps barely narrative) film. The film merely shows a young woman, played by Jaimie Marchuk, who appears to be having a breakdown in her bathroom. She laughs, she cries, she gets into the showing, she sees her double, she has a bottle of pills. It may be a mental breakdown, a suicide attempt, or an overdose.

The film's elegance, however, lies not in its plot or theme but its styles and technique, which show a kind of confidence that even the most tested filmmakers can lack. Mirror lets the girl's breakdown be messy, disruptive, and fraught. Its use of the jumpcut, for example, is visible without being overplayed and ostentatious. Moreover, the flash to the double is instant and very natural, and in this way is in fact rather scary. And the film uses a stark and smart soundtrack, mixing diegetic sound with some slight but terrifying sound effects. In other words, Eustáquio knows how to make images work without making them too symmetrical, or obviously stagey, or heavy-handed.

While her thematics may lack the maturity of her filmmaking practice ("don't do drugs, kids!"), this young filmmaker is nevertheless someone to watch in the future. Mirror displays an almost uncanny knowledge of what makes images work well. In other words, it is a complete film instead of a compendium of contemporary styles and techniques.
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Award-winning Sara Eustaquio astutely displays her talent as a filmmaker
vscinefest12 August 2017
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 plot line 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.
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