Boring old tax reasons seem to have been entirely motivated by Warner Bros.’s recent decision to halt the release of the near-completed Batgirl movie, but what if something more sinister happened? This is the setup for Immortality, the latest investigative thriller from the makers of Her Story and Telling Lies.? I went through archives of her FMV footage from three unreleased films to try and pinpoint why they never saw the light of day. Despite some surprisingly shallow search tools, what followed was a wholly immersive work that began as a jigsaw of sorts and turned into the movie equivalent of a Magic Eye poster. The true subject was brought into focus, revealing its shocking big picture.
Connecting the three unreleased films is model-turned-actress Marissa Marcel (Manon Gage). She was featured in her clip opening for Immortality, 1969 Johnny Carson Her Style Talk her show as a guest her spot, and was charismatic and optimistic about her upcoming big screen debut. Full of her optimism. Out-of-order on-set takes, table readings, rehearsals, and her 8mm home movies over 30 years. Gage delivered an absolutely electric performance in her lead role and I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
The footage itself is not only influenced by the period-specific film stocks and aspect ratios used, but also by the archaic bullying between takes from a misogynistic director during the making of 1968’s Ambrosio, to the utterly bleakness of 1999’s Two of Everything. A cheesy post-apocalyptic pop performance. There’s a rawness throughout, from the actors struggling to keep a naked corpse from laughing off before the clapperboard in the morgue, to the stagehand stepping in to equip primitive special effects, and this believability. enhance the feeling of Immortality made me completely convinced that I was perusing a collection of lost clips from productions that actually existed, a feast of found footage as easily bought as the original Blair Witch project. It’s all together more and more decisive.
Actually navigating Immortality’s growing catalog of clips requires a process that effectively combines the spinning mechanical playback of an old-school Moviola editing machine with the sophisticated AI-based image matching of a modern search engine. . You can scrub back and forth at variable speeds, instantly jump to either end of the reels, and even move frame by frame. This fine control over playback is paramount, as unearthing a new clip requires pressing a pose and clicking on a face or prop to instantly jump to a matching instance in another piece of footage. As I gradually rebuilt the plots of all three films and, more importantly, gained greater insight into the relationships between the key players through the candid moments that unfolded after the director shouted I soon found myself tumbling down rabbit holes and teleporting between time zones. cut. “
While this setup might sound fairly simple for a non-linear story, there’s actually a lot more going on in Immortality than you first see. To go into too much detail here would neutralize the most amazing story moments, but of course there are subtle clues that point to more malevolent forces at work from very early on. These first occur in the form of frightening flashes that induce double-takes while scrubbing the clip at high speed, and on closer inspection are known only as The One (played by Charlotta Morin). Another sequence was triggered featuring a mysterious provocateur. It paves the way for a series of chilling revelations and stunningly macabre imagery that give disturbing new meaning.
cutting room flaws
Being able to navigate between footages by simply clicking on an object or face might be a more sensible setting than typed search terms for Her Story or Telling Lies. It may also be somewhat coincidental. For example, you may click on an object in the foreground, like a hand holding a keycard, but select a window behind it, cut it to fit a random window in another clip, and Immortality will was only to interpret the I was equally disappointed every time the cursor changed to indicate that a particular person’s face was searchable.
Image-based search capabilities also mean that Immortality feels oversimplified as far as the actual investigative side of things is concerned. I got the overall impression that most of my discoveries came as a result of ludicrous luck rather than direct result. of the actual deduction. Certainly, there were some memorable occasions where I felt rewarded for being eagle-eyed. Faces and objects were examined until they exhausted the number of new matches they found before moving on to the next item. This can sometimes seem awkwardly approximating, like when you click on a very distinctive smiley face pendant and match it with an entirely different piece of jewelry. That usual randomness makes the process feel a bit like abandoning a proper Google search in favor of spamming the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button instead.
That said, Immortality’s major story revelations never blew me away, though I rarely felt like I got to them of my own volition. Looping and looping, layering on top of itself, continually recontextualizing the event via a drip-feed of new details, gradually deciphering the first cryptic monologue delivered by The One, Marcel’s film It surfaces the real reasons behind seemingly banished from the industry. If he had streamed the playthrough live, a picture-in-picture shot of my face would have been thrown into Dolly’s zoom like mine. He was the star of a Hitchcock movie.