2013, 16mm b/w, sound, 75min
Magic Mirror combines a re-staging of the French Surrealist artist Claude Cahun’s black and white photographs with selected extracts from her book Aveux non avenus (1930, Confessions Denied). In Surrealist kaleidoscopic fashion the film creates a weave between image and word, exploring the links between Cahun’s photographs and writing as well as between those of the films of Sarah Pucill, as both artists share similar iconography and concerns.
Cahun’s multi-subjectivity as expressed in both her book and photographs, set the scene for the film, where she dresses and makes her face up in so many different ways, swapping identities between gender, age and the inanimate. Three women masquerade as Cahun’s characters: often it is hard to tell them apart. The splitting of identity appears as a double which persists throughout; as a literal double (through super-imposition), as shadow, imprints in sand, reflections in water, mirror or distorting glass. Likewise the voice is split between differently dressed voices, which sometimes speak at the same time and sometimes in dialogue. Part essay, part film poem, Magic Mirror translates the startling force of Cahun’s poetic language into a choreographed series of Vivantes Tableaux, intermixed with stagings from her writing.
Selected text from Aveux Non Avenus (Confessions Denied), Claude Cahun, 1928. Translated by Rachel Gomme
- Direction, Camera and Edit:
- Sarah Pucill
- Funding Support:
- Arts Council of England
- Lighting, Second Camera:
- Rina Yang
- Main Performers:
- Andro Andrex, Rowina Lennon, Kate Hart
- Sound Mix and Dub:
- Konrad Welz
- Sound and Edit Assistance:
- Fernando Callega Lopez
- Jon Opstad
- Hair and Make-up:
- Amanda Rudkin
- Costume and Props:
- Lucy Vann, Jessica Cheetham,
- Main Voice-over:
- Helen McGregor, Rowena Lennon, Clarissa Regan, Marcia Farquhar
- Edit, Direction Assistance:
- Mairead MacClean
2013 22 April, Premier Screening, Tate Modern, 6.30pm
2013 21 July, Glasgow Film Theatre, 8.20pm
2013 11 August, Norsk Film Institute ‘The Dream That Kicks’ August
2013 7 November, Screening with Q+A Institute of Contemporary Art, London, 6.45pm
2013 13 November, Screening Cork Film Festival, 11.30am
2013 19 November, Union Theatre, Milwaukee, USA
2013 21 November, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, 6pm
2013 7+8 December, Institute of Contemporary Art, London
2014 15 January, Paula Mendersohn Becher Musuem, Bremen, Germany, curated by Christine Ruffert
2014 16 January, London Art Fair Panel screening and discussion on The Muse with Anthony Penrose (Lee Miller’s son) and Sue Steward
2014 3 February, Dance Pavillion, Bournemouth, curated by Selina Robertson
2014 28 February, Edinburgh Filmhouse,
2014 8 April, Freedman Gallery, Albright College, Reading, PA, USA, curated by Erin Riley-Lopez ‘International Film Series’
2014 9 April, Cinemarges Film Festival, Bordeaux
2014 26 April, La Cinemateque de Toulouse
2014 31 August, Seoul International New Media Film Festival, International Competition
2014 9 November, Pink Screen Film Festival, Brussels
2014 10 December, Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris
2015 April, Alchemy Film Festival, Hawick, Scotland.
2015 17 April- 14 June ‘Magic Mirror: Claude Cahun and Sarah Pucill, The Nunnery Gallery, London
2015 6 October, Screening, Ecoles des beaux arts de Nantes curated by Marion Chaine
2015 16 October, Birkbeck University, Screening organised by Birkbeck Institute For The Moving Image Seminar Series convened by Muriel Temple
2015 8 October-5 December, staged exhibition of Magic Mirror in ‘Radical Gestures: Uncanny Feminism”, curated by Bae Myung Ji, Coreana Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea
2016 30 September, Screening of Magic Mirror and presentation,
Cambridge University, Corpus Christi College, Public Seminar:
Film and the Other Arts, Intermediality, Medium Specificity, Creativity, International Research Network.
2017 18 November Photofilm: Sampling the Archive,
GUGA (Center of Architecture, a venue that is in opposition to the hungarian government), in co-operation with the Metropolitcan University, Budapest, Hungary.
IQMF Festival Screening and Discussion with Sudeep Dasgupta + Aynouk Tan, 13 December 2020.
2021 The Museum of Photography, Berlin. Part of Sampling the Archive Photofilm Event.
2018 “Coming To Life” and Intermediality in the films Confessions to the Mirror (2016) and Magic Mirror(2013) by Sarah Pucill In Experimental Film and Expanded Animation: New Perspectives and Practices. Ed V Smith, N Hamlyn, 2018. Winner 2018-19 Norman McLaren/Evelyn Lambart Award for Best Scholarly Book in Animation.
2016 “Feminisms, Mirrors: Claude Cahun and Sarah Pucill – a dialogue” by Dr M Sprio, MIRAJ Magazine, Issue 4, 2+1, Spring 2016
2015 April, Magic Mirror Exhibition booklet (Published by the Nunnery Gallery) texts by Liena Vayzman, Sarah Pucill, Louise Downie.
2015 May, Sight and Sound Magazine, Review of ‘Magic Mirror- Claude Cahun and Sarah Pucill’ at The Nunnery Gallery, London, by Frances Morgan
2015 May, Time Out Magazine, Review of ‘Magic Mirror- Claude Cahun and Sarah Pucill’ at the Nunnery Gallery, London
2014 “Between Mirrors”, Helena Reckitt, Lux DVD
2014 “Stepping Aside to Enter”, Sarah Ibrahim, Lux DVD
2014 September 30, Photomonitor Magazine, Interview with Anna McNay
2014 July DIVA Magazine, feature by Anna McNay
2013 Mnemoscape Interview with A Ferrini and E Adami on Magic Mirror Part 2
2013 Mnemoscape Interview with A Ferrini and E Adami on Magic Mirror Part 1
2012Vertigo Magazine Issue 31 Winter In Conversation – At Least I Will Know My Face
September 2021 Into the Mothlight podcast
“Into the Mothlight” Podcast interview with and produced by Jason Moyes on my 16mm films over 3 decades, in light of the the recent publication of the LUX Blu Ray of Confessions to the Mirror. Published September 2021
February 2020 Televised documentary in France (ARTE) and Germany (ZDF) “Masquerade and Games – The Female Artists of Surrealism”, Dir Maria Tappeiner. Televised date: France and Germany 16 February 2020. By the German public broadcaster ZDF in cooperation with the French/German public broadcaster ARTE. Directed by Maria Tappeiner.
Extracts from Magic Mirror and Confessions to the Mirror appear alongside an interview with me in my studio. The focus is on my work with Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore in Magic Mirror and Confessions to the Mirror. Documentary includes Lee Miller, Leonor Fini, Leonora Carrington, and Meret Oppenheim.
April 2013 Resonance FM Half Hour Radio Interview with Diana Mavrolean, ‘I’m ready for my Close-up’, on Magic Mirror
July 29, 2013 The Skinny, Review by Helen Wright
August 2013 TenMag, Spannish Fashion and Culture Magazine, Ana Himes
October 2016 BFI Southbank London Film Festival Salon, Interview with Helen de Witt and Ruth Maclennan, speaking about the films Magic Mirror and Confessions To The Mirror