Look away (2019) directed by Assaf Bernstein, explores the world of a young girl (played by India Eisley) who, despite her privileged life of wealth, has a really hard time navigating the tumult of rich kid high school. Due to a lack of sleep and a loss of appetite, Maria (Eisley) starts to uncover the dark past of her family, and see a world devoid of allies. Maria’s parents (played by Mira Sorvino and Jason Issacs) deliver performances that convey a splintered family, wounded by tragedy and unchecked hubris. What unfolds is a dynamic story of identity crisis and carnage.
On the surface, it appears that Look Away (2019) deals with a number of themes and issues that young women face; school bullying, mental health, society’s unrealistic standards of beauty, reproductive rights, and toxic masculinity. However, if these issues are the focus of the film, then it can get a bit too busy. In contrast, Look Away (2019) is so deliberately and meticulously put together that it’s hard to believe that Bernstein would feel comfortable with tackling these questions through the eyes of a man. So the audience is forced to dig deeper and the experience we get is a confrontation with the Jungian archetype of the shadow.
It is fascinating that some self-proclaimed intellectuals are trying to hold on to the concept of Jungian Archetypes especially since the science of psychology has long since outgrown it. Although it makes for good cinema, the turn-of-the-century ideas about how our minds work are still being exalted today by some of these ‘intellectual dark web’ types on the internet. The elevation of hierarchy, traditional gender roles, and Nietzschian Ubermenchlichkeiten, are also being piggybacked on to Jung’s outdated ideas. This is where Look Away (2019) really shines through with a brilliant theme. Trying not to spoil the movie here, but it turns out that the film rejects the idea of the shadow. It shows how those who are pigeon-holed into a hierarchy, despite all of the wealth and privilege it can bring, will resist violently and turn the entire rigid system into a giant clusterfuck. It will even destroy those who benefit from the system, even though they don’t actively perpetuate it. If we try to force the younger generation into continuing our traditions as a society, there will be a great day of reckoning ahead of us.
The film forced me to think, and that is why Look Away (2019) should be taken seriously, not only as a work of art but also for the lesson it is trying to convey. It’s a film that requires more than one viewing to effectively analyze it, and you can check it out April 15th on digital download. In addition, we should all be looking out for new films by Assaf Bernstein, and be sure to keep an eye out for India Eisley as well. Check it out!
Born and raised in San Diego California, I grew up loving the action horror and sci-fi genres. The first R rated film I saw was Predator back when I was 8 years old. Aliens blew me away as a youngster and I made a M41-A pulse rifle out of paper towel rolls and rubber bands. I ran around for hours avoiding face huggers and blasting xenomorphs in my back yard and I am bringing that big imagination to Nevermore Horror.