Shirin Neshat’s haunting new film confronts self with other, as we enter the gaze of a woman surveying tumbling surf and a windswept beach.
Illusions & Mirrors (2013) looks forward, perhaps with dread, to a future already lurking in shadowed, antique rooms – as Natalie Portman follows a man in black who appears on the shore, then hurries over the dunes to glide up stairs and through empty halls. She comes upon other, mysterious elements: a line of people on chairs along a wall, an older woman stroking the hair of “another,” of herself. Movement is cautious and tense, the narrative wordless and insinuating. Views fade and double, alternating clear and sharp with other, wavering scenes, like memories or hallucinations, portents of what-will-be. Finally we see Portman from a darkened window as she observes herself outside in sun and wind, back on the shore at the beginning.