Imitations of Life

  • 75'
  • Canada
  • 2003
A video essay inspired by psychoanalysis about the way in which we give our life and our childhood shape and meaning. Hoolboom quotes Freud's thoughts about the way in which people regard their childhood memories and how these tend to develop and be distorted over the course of time more than that they come about spontaneously and authentically. Without however getting too lost in a plethora of theories, Hoolboom sets out looking for the sources of these distortions of memory. He films his nephew Jack in front of a mirror and stands still at the mirror stage of Lacan (a fundamentalist Freudian philosopher). That sounds very serious, but it is certainly also satirical. Hoolboom plays to his heart's content with his theme, and especially also with his film material. Colour and black & white are juxtaposed. Grainy 8mm film brings atmosphere into the images and a beautiful humorous soundtrack reflects a very different view of the concept of an essay.The video is made up of ten short chapters: In the Future (3'), Jack (15'), Last Thoughts (7'), Portrait (4'), Secret (2'), In My Car (5'), The Game (5.5'), Scaling (5'), Imitation of Life (21') and Rain (3.5'). All chapters have their own mood and theme as short films, but are held together by Hoolboom's specific tone and cinematographic style. A glimpse of the past in the form of one of the future, and vice versa.
Mike Hoolboom
World premiere
Country of production
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2003
Betacam SP PAL
Mike Hoolboom
Mike Hoolboom
Mike Hoolboom
Ross Turnbull, Dennis Day