synopsis

 

Mirror is the story of one man's quest to confront his primeval fear - the fear of death, and in the process escape from his own tortured mind which is his prison.He has been tormented by his thoughts since the accidental drowning of his brother.He came to Canada a year ago to earn his masters degree in political science and in part to escape the painful reminders of his brother's death. Faced with the difficulty of learning a new language and unable to finance his studies, he considers an opportunity to work as a convenience store clerk in a remote oil-patch hamlet of Zama, located 1000 km. north of the city. He is to look after the store while Tom, the full-time clerk, goes on a two-month vacation. He welcomes the change and the opportunity this would provide him to sort things out in his life. This tiny settlement of 300 people in the middle of no where offers him more than he expected. There he finds a culture that is as unique as any other foreign country, maybe more so.First he meets the kids, more free and playful than their counterparts in the city. They drive trucks at the age of nine, and they can put a hamster in their mouth to impress strangers. Then he meets Burt, nicknamed "Burnt", who is obsessed about getting the right warning label on his cigarettes, preferring the one about the pregnant women over the warning about lung cancer. Sonny and Travis are truck drivers; they haul crude oil from the oilfields that surround Zama. Travis is nicknamed pig farmer, forced into driving because, as he puts it "farming don't pay the bills". Sonny "the Serb", always mistaken for a native because of his graying pony-tailed hair, is the town pragmatist, preferring to enjoy life's easy offerings to its thought demanding secrets and mysteries. Then there is Monika, restless and bored, she can't help but feel giddy about the new man in town. This is the human landscape that is Zama, different in many ways than the city, but somehow in an ironic way, the mechanics of life seem all too familiar. As weeks pass and fresh experiences give way to daily routines, he starts to feel the psychological effect of isolation. He increasingly becomes less disciplined and more irritable. Horseflies keep him busier than the customers. He becomes obsessed with a squirrel thatŐs stealing 'Oh Henry' chocolate bars from the store. People around him soon begin to disappear, Sonny and Travis leave due to shortage of work, Monika poisons herself, Burnt drives into a ditch and falls into a coma. Horseflies even abandon him at the end by committing mass suicide on the store's window-ledge. He knows that the physical reality surrounding him is not the culprit for his tense state of mind, but rather the spiritual reality within him that he must confront. He desperately wants to purge his emotions and in the process understand and get a glimpse of his own destiny. He is aware of the symptoms of his sickness but he does not know the treatment. He completes his two-month stay but Tom fails to show up. During one of his routine runs he decides to hike through the woods. As he is walking in the woods, two hunters in the area mistake him for a black bear and shoot him by mistake. Laying on the ground with eyes wide open and a sharp pain coming from his right arm, he can't help but think the irony of it all, that this unexpected confrontation with death would finally give him what he was seeking all along - the affirmation of life.