4 Elements - Film Seminar


A mirror as a theme in film is interesting for a number of reasons. First, film gives the impression of a mirror. We look at the screen and can find and see ourselves in it; we identify with the characters in a mirror maze of images. The metaphor is, of course, somewhat lame, but film really is just that - the kingdom of warped mirrors. Second because whether we want it or not, cinematography is, in a sense, the mirror of time. Both documentary and actors’ films freeze and reflect not only the state of mind, poetics and style peculiar to the time period of the film’s emergence, but also its fashion, language and behaviour. Moreover, a mirror is an object that film-makers use rather abundantly. There is a surprisingly large number of films where mirrors play an important role. A mirror gives way to the elegant concept of an image within an image, serves as a tool of multiplication, an enter gate for one character and an exit one or for another. One can get lost in it or explore different worlds behind it. Overall, a mirror is a mysterious object worth portraying.
With the tenth year of the Summer Film Seminar 4 Elements, it is time to look back upon its existence. This year’s programme will therefore act as a mirror of the previous ones. Some of the material will be repeated and some of it multiplied. In 1927, Jan Weiss, a Czech writer, wrote a short story The Mirror that Falls Behind. In a dance hall on a large silver mirror surface with its shore of golden, rococo-styled frame, the characters watch their past. They see what once happened during a several minutes’ darkness. “And this profane, murderously indiscrete theatre carried on; slowly, rhythmically, moving forward like a film”. The first sentence of the story is: “This masquerade of the Society of Individualists was rather peculiar” (free translation). Just as peculiar as the 2008 mirror-themed 4 Elements will be.

Martin Ciel  

Films: Lost Holiday, Mirror, Wittman Boys, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Welt Spiegel Kino, The Holy Mountain, Death Is Called Engelchen, the surprise from the archive, Persepolis, The Fall of the House of Usher, Alice, Mirror Mechanics, Mirror, Zerograd, Landscape, Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine, Pan`s Labyrinth, Eden and After, Black Book, student films by the Academy of Perfroming Arts in Bratislava, documentary films by Lucia Králová, Blade Runner