In this installment of 169 Seconds, made in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the Danish film journal 16:9, I collect mirror and reflection sequences from the 2017 Chilean film Una mujer fantástica / A Fantastic Woman (directed by Sebastián Lelio, based on a script by Lelio and Gonzalo Maza), and ponder their significance in this narrative of queer melancholia and mourning. The film stars Daniela Vega, a trans actress and mezzo-soprano, as the recently bereaved protagonist Marina, and it is Vega who, in the closing moments of the film, sings the song that accompanies the audiovisual essay: ‘Ombra mai fu’ (‘Never was a shade…’), the opening aria from the 1738 opera Serse by Georg Friedrich Händel.
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- Concept and script by Catherine Grant.
- Editing by Catherine Grant.