What can the deep sea teach us about humans, evolution, and the dream of immortality?
About 90% of the ocean surface is covered by the deep sea. These extensive areas, immersed in darkness, are over 200 meters deep. Marine biology brings exciting discoveries from those unexplored depths. One of these is Turritopsis dornhii, also known as “the immortal jellyfish", which has the ability to constantly rejuvenate. While other jellyfish species die after the egg or sperm release, Turritopsis medusae virtually rewind their aging process and thus are “immortal”.
In Amanda Tasse's short film MIRA, the immortal jellyfish accompanies a marine biologist in her dives and contemplations. Struggling with the cognitive consequences of temporal lobe epilepsy, the protagonist immerses herself in the undiscovered wonders of the deep sea. Her attempts to regain memory are linked to reflections on the galaxy and the origin of life. In MIRA the Turritopsis dornhii becomes the symbolic image of an exploration of no longer accessible experiences and the desire to relive them. The potentially infinite life cycles of Turritopsis dornhii are reflected in the loop of the main character's incomplete memory. Water becomes the philosophical liquid enabling a magical relationship between time, space, human and animal.
The short film selected as a finalist for the Student Academy Awards is representative of Amanda Tasse's immersive works, in which she weaves scientific questions and atmospheric storytelling into multi-platform experiences. Tasse holds a master's degree in animation and a doctorate in media arts & practice from the University of Southern California. Recently she took over the art direction of Last Whispers VR, a project by director Lena Herzog, which premiered at Sundance New Frontiers.
The film program is presented in partnership with Imagine Science Films (ISF), New York, an international platform spreading new and experimental works at the interface between science and film.