What can I say? I’m going through my Mirror Phase…

When I look back at this blog, I see that my last update came.. yup, before the 2016 election. Who was I when I wrote that post? Who were any of us? What happened? Nope. Nope, that’s not what I’m writing about today.

If I am something of a sporadic personal blogger, I can say only this: the person who runs this blog doesn’t pay enough to write more regularly. And that person is me. Even so, I came to a crossroads: either I needed to delete this blog or come back to it in some small, maybe very small, way. I did some soul-searching in between checking Facebook and googling “healthy foods that are actually healthy and not in some way bad for you” (turns out, no such thing). I looked into my heart and said: eh, what the heck, the blog commences!

In honor of my decision, I want to tell you about my three of my favorite mirror scenes in Film/TV. I hope that below (or on FB), you will tell me about your favorites, which might also become some of my favorites too.

So, I’m just going to quickly flag you to all the academic stuff I could say about mirrors but don’t have to, because this is not a peer-reviewed publication:

-Something something mirror phase? Psychoanalysis? Sure.

-Something something projection-identification (see: Edgar Morin, who I just assigned for my first-year seminar).

-ERGO, something something meta: mirror as cinema, cinema as mirror. You get it.

I hope that I have thus proved that I am a Serious Scholar and that I Could If I Wanted To. Enough of that. My three favorites (chronologically):

  1. Waterloo Bridge (1931). This is probably my favorite pre-Code film after Baby Face. It is about a prostitute and the naive soldier who falls in love with her, never once understanding that she *stands under street-lamps: hello!*. To call Waterloo Bridge a slut-shaming melodrama is an understatement, and sure, it suffers from “Stella Dallas Syndrome,” meaning that it presents class virtue as moral virtue with such poignance and elegance that I am angered but still moved. One of the most stirring and memorable moments is when star Mae Clark puts on make-up to go out and find a John. It is haunting. Color me haunted. Yeah, it’s femininity as performance + sad clown, but there is something ineffable in her performance that transcends those cliches and any others. The entire film can be found on Youtube and is worth watching, even though the end… THE END! Somebody needs to watch it, so we can discuss.
  2. Is it square to like American Hustle (2013)? I know it was a sorta basic flick that somehow won Best Picture at the Academy Awards… but I love a story about con artists. I never, ever get sick of watching actors play actors, and who is more of a capital-A Actor than Christian Bale? The opening sequence is just… not only is it a neat meta-portrait of Bale’s notorious Method but is just a killer piece of characterization/foreshadowing worthy of any Film Appreciation course.
  3. This one is still marinating in my brain, considering it was just on this week, but Miriam Schor is one of the highlights of Younger, a show that is smarter than it seems, if not by a lot… At any rate, after her character, Diana Trout, kicks her lying, manipulative boyfriend to the curb, she walks out of the apartment (that he will be moving out of, pronto) and gives herself a sad, empowered, perfectly Diana glance in the mirror before strapping on an enormous red flower and going to accept an award. Schor discussed with Vulture’s E. Alex Jung (a former college roommate of mine, no thang, not like I’m name-dropping) about what she wanted to capture in this moment. What draws me in is the fraught, contradictory nature of this gesture: she is both strong and fragile and turning herself into an objet d’art: to be looked at, not to be touched (or kissed. How do you kiss someone wearing a huge rose necklace that, in its blood-red color, looks like a wound?) Diana Trout’s relationship to fashion just fascinates me, and fashion and mirrors go together like… well, they just go together.

Honorable Mention: Devin, what’re yoooou doing heeeere? Enough said.

What are your favorite mirror shots, scenes, and moments in film and television? Please post below!

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