On our Instagram or Facebook pages, we show only the best part of ourselves, the “beautiful” part of our lives. We hide in this fake. We are so immersed in the process of creating our ideal virtual personality that we forget about real life. We forget the simple truth that beauty is inside.
The film subtilely focuses on a social issue that has global reach: how we perceive and judge ourselves and the others in a world dominated by social media, which demands perfect beauty and instant gratification.
Oscar-winning screen icon Susan Sarandon and painter Tigran Tsitoghdzyan discuss how the apparently in conflict values of beauty and aging are perceived in our social-media obsessed society, as he tries to limn her portrait during a timeless sitting session in his atelier in New York City. With this film the director, Arthur Balder, sets in motion his theory on poetics of cinematic art, by attempting to create the deep conflicts of creativity in a non-linear, challenging story-telling scheme. The fictional formulation of thought-processes, which can be called memories but also ‘omens’ and other sort of ‘visions’, imagery occurring in the internal eye in connection with the unconscious and entirely ‘subjective’, are the quintessential substance of the director’s final result. ‘Intimations of Immortality’ is a reference taken from British Romantic poet William Wordsworth’s ‘Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood’. For Wordsworth poetry was all about the ‘memories’ we keep from our most deeply felt living hours.
‘American Mirror: Intimations of Immortality’ aims to expand our ordinary perception of time as the director introduces ‘a documentary on the subconscious’. From this perspective these characters -an artist, muses painted by him, the NYC society as a catalyzer- transcend the banausic pace of the world surrounding them, joining in a kind of shared visionary creative process, as if engulfed in each other’s dream. The director lays out the dream-like narratives of both the artist and his haunting muses -main parts assigned to Susan Sarandon and Florence Faivre-, whom Tigran paints, or dreams to paint. Most reality-engaged scenes are the epitome of the everyday metropolis-world in which the artist’s self apparently wanders without a clear aim. In fact, what follows the opening sequence of the awakening could be interpreted as just a dream within a dream, being the whole proceedings a feverish thought-process. The director draws us in with an intriguing story, a reality transfigured into surreal perception, that actually embeds a meditation on something far deeper: the internal frictions of subconscious, never-resolved conflicts which are the true motor of creative impulsiveness. But through his presentation of the unconscious right at the beginning of the film, the director choses an artistic direction that he would follow hereafter with unwavering determination despite challenging the canons of nowadays ‘conscious’ and ‘mainstream’ documentary filmmaking until the last frame of the film.