Mobile phones have changed the way the seven arts work. But for every film that Sean Baker directs there are a few examples like In The Mirror, where every character reaches out to the side of the camera like they’re uploading a Twitter video. And it uses that gimmick to do a modern retelling of Snow White, where the king is a Latvian Crossfit Trainer (Lauris Dzelzitis) and a father to a girl. He marries a woman (Elza Leimane) who can do the most burpees without stopping. Her record is 50, more than the men who interestingly enough respects her strength.
But Snow White grows up into a young woman (Madlena Valdberga) who breaks her unnamed Stepmother’s record with 53 burpees. I can barely do one but to be fair I already did a workout today. Anyway, Stepmother’s jealousy towards Snow White’s burpees means that the latter must die. But as the tale goes, she escapes deep into the woods, but instead of dwarves she finds a postmodern glass house. The house belongs to to seven guys who have have different ways of staying fit. This is the reverse of the original Snow White which was interested in femininity.
I’m fine with this spin on the tale, and it’s nice to watch a film about people working out so I can try to have a second workout today. But this hsouldn’t have been about selfie culture selfie culture. This could have been a deeper examination of the differences within groups of men and the two women who hold power over them. Laila Pakalnina, who directed the film, is no Claire Denis. Denis can basically say something deep while making thirst traps out of her actors. And if we’re doing 21st Century Snow White we can do without the ageism, can we?
Catch In The Mirror here.