Reflecting on Reflections: Cinema's Complex Mirror Shots

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    7 Citations (Scopus)


    This article investigates the effects mirrors in films can have on the composition of a filmic image, the staging of a scene and the viewing activities of the spectators. It discusses four such effects: (1) So-called ‘complex mirror shots’ can modify how spectators look onto the picture as a flat composition by way of a quasi-transformation of the screen shape. (2) They can function as a magnetizing frame-within-the-frame that channels the viewer’s look into the anterior depth of the mirror. (3) By referring spectators to off-screen space and thus making them look beyond the image into its lateral and posterior depth, some specific examples also allow for an intricately layered experience of perception and imagination, challenging and complicating efforts to “read” the image. (4) Finally, mirrors may be a source of spatial complication and can even lead to a full-blown disorientation regarding the status of the image, thus transforming the way viewers understand, problematise and look at the filmic image as such.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication Indefinite Visions
    Subtitle of host publicationCinema and the Attractions of Uncertainty
    EditorsMartine Beugnet, Allan Cameron, Arild Fetveit
    Place of PublicationEdinburgh
    PublisherEdinburgh University Press
    Number of pages26
    ISBN (Electronic)9781474407151
    ISBN (Print)9781474407120
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Publication series

    NameEdinburgh Studies in Film and Intermediality


    • film theory
    • mirror
    • mise-en-scène
    • film analysis
    • film phenomenology

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