PERCEPTION: Nyon´s Vision du Réel takes a look into the world of beauty competitions in the social media age.
Dieter Wieczorek
Wieczorek is a film critic and regular contributor to Modern Times Review.
Published date: May 20, 2020
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Country: China, Germany


The times are over when people dress themselves up, put some makeup on, add perfume and, of course, choose the right costume to get respect and appreciation from their surroundings. Today the competition is much harder and people are preparing to confront worldwide public evaluation. We have already seen a series of fictional films showing people of all ages, especially youngsters, attracting attention, performing unimaginable acts, including perverse murders, in order to get the «views» and «likes».

To again give voice to this subject in a documentary seems an urgent task and the audience of Nyon´s 2020 online version Festival Visions du Réel recognised this effort with the public award for Sacha Schöberl´s Mirror, Mirror on the Wall.

«What god owes you»

After the drone perspective opening scene, we see an already beautiful slim woman entering a building with the banner: «Dr. Han gives you what God owes you». She is filming herself with two online applications simultaneously, disappointed for having only 15 followers at this very moment. Some of her regular viewers have teased her about her small breasts, so she has decided to change them. Dr. Han promises her to have so many followers in the future, that she will not need to work anymore. The deal is that she can screen her breast enhancement live, a world premiere, holding her camera on her face during the procedure, making victory signs, while the hospital crew screens other parts of her body. Also, a real public space behind a glass wall can allow people to follow it. Finally, though, during the procedure, she gets so tired that even the assisting nurse advised her to take a rest and sleep.

Dr. Han had taken care that no anaesthesia materials are to appear in the picture. After having arranged his facial hair removal, one of his staff members takes photos of him and the client using a digital beauty filter. Evidently, he is not only making publicity for the most expensive aesthetic chirurgic clinic but is addicted to the views to, at least, the same degree as his clients, not hesitating to step on the operation table for another photo.

Using testimonies about miscarried operations in other clinics, which have caused partial face paralyses or broken noses, followed by the need for permanent medication or even acts of


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