Before approaching this film there is one cinematic perspective to keep in mind, which comes from Thomas Elsaesser’s book on Film Theory who states that mind game films like Shutter Island, Memento or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, have a “ghostly or spectral character, though not in the sense that they take on a subjective perspective or suggest an otherworldly presence, rather, they are spectral in the sense that the cinema itself has a mind outside or in excess of the narration or the characters, the auteur or the spectator.”
The Mind Bleeds Ink invites viewers to delve into the mind of a mentally disturbed artist who uses the medium of film as a mirror to reflectively reveal three curiously different, comfortably numb and wickedly sinister aspects of his consciousness. Meet Elliot, an artist having trouble coming to grips with the darker parts of his self, who dreams of seducing his psychiatrist, Dr. Weinhaus, so that he can have misogynistic power over the one person who makes him feel helpless during every session. She asks him intrusive questions that make him confront those dreadful aspects of his consciousness that he has tried to push aside for years. Those wretchedly peculiar characters that she calls the id, the ego, and the superego.
This film is in a lot of ways a visual response to what I learned from by studying the mind game film, Shutter Island. As from the first scene with the ship crossing the foggy sea, Scorsese establishes this psychologically thrilling film as an allegory for the spectator’s confined position within this cinematic reality. I was particularly interested in the various ways the film plays visual tricks on the viewer with non-continuity editing, how it distorts time, and how it treats the film as a mirror. For it is of vital importance that spectators acknowledge the fact that filmmakers are trying to communicate something to an audience more than just a linear plot. Cinematic language in the form of shot juxtaposition, mise-en-scene, and camera angles must be differentiated much like English and Spanish are so that we can appreciate film from a higher perspective.
Diegetically, the intention of The Mind Bleeds Ink was to visually show the ways in which the medium of film can make spectators question their self-awareness within cinematic reality. In an extra-diegetic sense, this film was made to reach out to those kids in high school or college right now, who may not be shown art as a way to escape, just as I wasn’t. Maybe if I had been told its ok to express yourself, its ok to be strange, ok to be different I would have been more inclined to go to college straight out of high school instead of working a menial job at a cemetery. That in fact by making yourself completely vulnerable is the greatest strength anyone can have. In the film, I expose myself in ways that make it awkward for me to watch, only to show that anything goes as long as you believe in yourself, however Stranger that self may be.
From a production standpoint, I hope this film can be appreciated for its editing techniques, from the 1834 individual carefully placed and manipulated layers, the 186 different cuts, to the unique visually subjective character perspectives. And finally, I hope my peers can relate to the external questions and internal conflicts that Elliot faces as an artist and do as he does. Unflinchingly believe in not only yourself but your creativity as well.