Revisit the past with Joslyn Rose Lyons’ new film ‘Looking Glass’
Looking Glass is a fascinatingly surreal journey. The short follows a man as he travels to a mysterious bar and discovers a portal to the past. The man dares to step through the portal, leading him on a mind-altering trip where dreams, reality, and the very concept of time intermingles to create a fluid, indecipherable space.
Looking Glass is written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Joselyn Rose Lyons. The premise was loosely inspired by the book The Big Leap, which explores the concept of taking the courageous leap from your ‘excellence zone’ to your ‘genius zone’. Lyons took this kernel of an idea and melded it with her own long-standing interests in the past and the process of aging. It was, in many ways, her love letter to time.
The characters in the film serve a dual purpose, in that each of them represent a different conceptual idea. There are characters who represent fear, doubt, and dreams, which is something Lyons took great care to get right. She uses abstract transitions and editing techniques to convey the surreal nature of the scene, and the performances she gets out of the cast goes a long way in furthering the general tone of the film.
Looking Glass benefits greatly from its strong cast. The protagonist is played by actor and rapper Jallal Malik while the rest of the ensemble cast is made up of musicians from the Bay Area, including DJ Umami, Ryan Nicole-Peters, and DJ Ambush. These performers not only bring tremendous depth and talent to their roles, but they embody the spirit of Oakland’s creative community on the big screen.
Malik explained that he was drawn to the film due to its universal themes of time and loss. “Everywhere we go we are there for that present moment. The moments become memories”, he explained. “The memories are then our ode to time. What we do is all we take with us when we are gone from this beautiful world. So I like to think of myself as a time traveler. Here one day gone the next.”
Malik isn’t the only one who has connected with Looking Glass. The short was a Sundance London Entry, and has picked up numerous awards in the festival circuit. It’s also slated to screen at the Los Angeles Pan African Virtual film festival.
Joselyn Rose Lyons chalks up her filmmaking success to her tenacity and her ability to collaborate with others. “Being an artist can be challenging, creating your own way, believing in your vision when others don’t see it yet”, she stated. “But you just have to keep believing in your vision. Pressure makes the diamond, friction forms the pearl. So it’s all needed in order to make great work.”
The Los Angeles Pan African Virtual film festival takes place from February 28 to March 14, 2021. You can screen Looking Glass by clicking here.