DIRECTOR’S NOTES - Matthew Saville
The inspiration for Dive comes from the surrealist painting ‘LaReproduction Interdite’ (1937) by Rene Magritte. The painting shows the commissioner ‘Edward James’ staring in the mirror. Instead of seeing his face, he finds himself staring at the back of his own head - his reflection has turned its back on him. I have always found the image intriguing, and several years ago I came face to face with the original at a surrealist exhibition in London. As I sat there staring at it, I wondered why your reflection would turn its back on you? This short film is my answer to that question. A suicide attempt incites the protagonist’s reflection to turn its back on him, the film then follows his quest to get his reflection back and deal with the reasons for wanting to end his own life.
While the film has some dark themes, it was important to me that it also had a sense of humour, and was essentially uplifting. Most doppelganger stories tend to be negative – in myths and novels the
doppelganger appears and takes over the hero’s life – but being the surviving half of a pair of identical twins (my brother died in childbirth), I have always wondered what it would be like to be face to face with my other half. For me, it would be an emotional though perfectly natural and positive experience. Dive has been a way to explore that idea, a film about facing yourself and moving on. The protagonist’s reflection represents the part of his subconscious that wants him to get over his grief and move on with his life – yet it is still him, and subject to his idiosyncrasies and temper.
When writing the film, I decided that any elements of horror, comedy and drama had to come naturally from the kernel of the idea. The film does not have imposing sound design to tell the audience how to feel or think, and I made a conscious decision to shoot it as ‘in camera’ as possible, avoiding unnecessary VFX, and keep the set design as mundane as possible to make the world of the story believable. The result in my mind is a dark surrealist comedy or fantasy that lives in the real world. I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I have enjoyed making it.