Film is often a mirror of reflection for viewers. At first, there is what is. The characters and story first create a look of recognition. Then there’s the story beneath the surface. What lies behind the familiar? The image of a mother stimulates our minds to layer the particular in the film with both personal and universal associations. Outer and inner images interact simultaneously, generating instances of synchronicity. We are transported into a liminal zone where imagination reigns over reality.
Reflections of any event can activate the imagination. And once arousal occurs, insight and change are in the offing. Seeing the connection with ourselves in a film is a chance to feel an archetype at work in our psyche. Metaphor is the language of film. A red rose on a table sets the stage for passion to enter. The visual image slides from screen to psyche. The feeling that lay dormant beneath the flatly recognizable rose appears for the taking. The mirror of film opens the image to feel what isn’t seen by turning inside and out into one impression.
When the conversion is felt, the psyche expands. It’s not the mirror but the imagination that enlivens what’s seen. James Hillman, archetypal psychologist, calls this phenomenon “personification”. Magic lies in the connection, the synchronicity of flickering images play with dark and light to reveal hidden meaning. In ordinary terms, it’s an imagining into the image. Everything is then of the psyche. This is the treasure sought in film.
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall…whose story do you tell? Mine, of course!