“3 1/2 minutes” is a short 16mm film shot in black and white and color. This experimental/narrative piece deals with the psychological universe of women. This film has an intrinsic connection with my “Break Up Series”. It was shot in the spring of 2010, but the idea is actually from 1999. Back then I was already thinking about how complicated it is to end a relationship, all the implications about it, and how difficult it is to let go. The initial idea for the film remained the same, but if I had shot it back than, it would be possibly a narrative piece, but after many years of film studies, it became more of an experimental film. One of the things I started experimenting with was using color film for the flashback scenes and black and white for the real time sequence. That is the opposite of what is usually seen in conventional narrative films, but I used the two different film stocks to represent feelings. The past was happy and colorful, whereas the present is sad and gray.

The greatest influence for “3 ½ Minutes” is the experimental filmmaker Maya Deren, especially her film “Meshes of the Afternoon” (1943). Interestingly enough, I only saw “Meshes” after I had thought of many scenes for my film that look like her piece, such as the cracked mirror: it was in my original script, long before I had ever heard of Maya Deren. However, watching her film made me think of how I wanted “3 ½ Minutes” to look in terms of lighting and camera shots, in order to add meaning to the piece.

As Maya in “Meshes”, the Woman in “3 ½ Minutes” observes and analyses her fragmented other self when she looks at her torn picture and at the cracked mirror. Those shattered pieces of her image show a woman who is tormented by her own psyche. The film climaxes when she actually confronts physically her other self. Deren also has multiple versions of herself in the film: “One of Deren’s dreaming selves stands serenely at the window, watching the fear and chaos of her other selves. She is a woman seeing herself” (Clark, Hodson and Neiman 1985). But unlike Maya, the self who survives is not the observing one, but the one being observed. Which of those selves is the real one? Is any of them the real one? Is any of what is seen real?

The Man in “3 ½ Minutes” is nothing like Sasha in Meshes. While Sasha comes in to put everything back to where it belongs, restoring the order in Maya’s life, waking her up from her slumber when her other self is about to hurt her, the Man in 3 1/2 minutes is the cause of the chaos. His absence caused the disorder in this woman’s life, and even after he was gone, his ghostlike presence in the present is stronger than his physical self from the past. It is possible to notice here a connection with the Break Up Series. When I cut the man out of the photograph but leave his silhouette, I am emphasizing a presence that used to be there, but is not there anymore. “The Man in 3 ½ Minutes” is not there anymore. His presence is a silhouette in her mind, holding her hostage in a past that no longer exists. It is a mere representation of how hard it is to let go of a relationship and move on.

Curiously, nobody has ever asked me why the film is called “3 ½ Minutes”. It is a fact that I chose to put the title on the screen at exactly 3 ½ minutes of the film, but this is not the reason. When I first wrote the film, I believed that it was how long it took for someone to make a bad decision in life. Nowadays I believe it takes even less than that, which leads me to the subject matter of my new pieces: Crimes of Passion.

Works Cited
Clark, Hodson, and Neiman. The Legend of Maya Deren. New York: Anthology Film Archives, 1985.

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