Completed as two versions – both in traditional film and 360 VR – this literal reflection on the passing of time features the lady of a country house, over a hundred years ago, as she looks into her table mirror and prepares for the day. She talks about the practical, everyday use of the mirror in the present, and the objective help it gives to show how we look to others in the world. But then, she warns that the image in the mirror can also just reflect and reinforce the distorted image we have of ourselves, as we seek to find meaning in what we see.
In the traditional film version, she leaves the room, but her voice continues. The viewer is left looking at the empty mirror, in the empty room, while she concludes that however important our appearance might be, and our views of ourselves, when we are gone, the mirror holds no trace of us: over time, we will disappear.
In the 360 version, viewable in a VR headset, the viewer is situated between the mirror and The Lady, with the Lady and her maid appearing to be slightly transparent, as if they are ghosts. The image in the mirror remains clear. When the Lady leaves, the reflection keeps talking, until it too disappears, leaving the viewer alone looking at the blank mirror, echoing the loss mentioned in the last lines of the poem.
However, both versions of the film themselves offer hope, as film is a medium that can, at least to some extent, recreate and connect us to the past.
Why two versions?
Moving Pictures Theatre are keen to explore the story-telling possibilities of 360 VR, alongside their traditional productions. The two versions of this short film stand alone, but show different techniques to tell the same story. We have longer projects in planning stage, that will be filmed with both methods – this film has helped us to test the production process.
New film-making techniques are often thought of as futuristic, but we are interested in using classic stories as well as exploring new possibilities. We saw this as an opportunity to tell a story and immerse the viewer in a historic location – a period drama can be powerful if the viewer can fully enter that world.
This project is related to our multi-award winning work with filmed poems, Time and Tide, which you can read about here
You can read an interview with Isabella McCarthy Sommerville, lead actor of The Mirror, here, where she talks about the experience of performing in a 360 production for the first time.
Preston Manor in Brighton is a historic house, preserved to show how such a building would function in the period before and after the First World War. The house has its origins in a simple mid-13th century stone-built structure, with transformations taking place over the years. The manor was bequeathed to Brighton Corporation in 1932 by its last private occupants. Today, it is open to the public to reflect the way of life of a well-to-do Edwardian family and their servants.
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Cast & Crew
|Lady of the House:||Isabella McCarthy Sommerville|
|Lady’s Maid:||Rosanna Bini|
|Editor:||Alexx Paul Sherman|
|Production Design:||Paula Wrightson|
|Cinematography & Camera for 360 version||Michael Danks|
|Editor for 360 version:||Johnny Simpson-Lee|