Directed by: #SamMizrahiPowell
The Pursuit of a Jigsaw is unlike your typical jump scare, gore fest that is often linked to the horror genre. Instead, director Sam Mizrahi-Powell focuses on everyday life and the horrors that lie within conforming to social protocols and the unwritten expectations of how we should conduct our lives, whether this be to get a job, buy a house, get married and have children. Mizrahi-Powell highlights the downfalls of living this predicted lifestyle and suggests that people can lose their individuality and their sense of self, practically morphing into the person you’re in a relationship with. You both are no longer individuals, you see the same people, have the same hobbies, eat the same food the list goes on. The little escapism you do have soon is taken away from you as your partner begins to encroach on this freedom. This of course is an exaggerated version of marriage, and certainly one which projects the dangers of being a part of a toxic relationship. This is a great fear carried by many and this film exposes these doubts in a relatable and artistic way.
Throughout the film, there are glimpses of people whose faces are deformed as they are beginning to mutate into their partner and colleagues at work. Signifying that we all become a part of someone else and lose ourselves in the process. Protagonist Ben sees these people every day and knows that it won’t be long until he begins to turn into one of these creatures as he is soon to wed fiancé Donna in less than a month. This figure was frightening and creepy, but also became a part of the everyday characters and blends in with the background, highlighting the fact that society no longer contains individuality. Not only in home life but also work life, everyone needs to be part of a team, ideas are to be decided in a group and Ben can no longer be his own man. The only space where Ben felt free and in his element was at the beach swimming. Here he could be himself and alone, away from the crowds of people, this was a perfect location to truly represent freedom.
The black and white scenes fit this piece extremely well, especially because the period is set in 1950’s America. This aids the narrative further particularly because of this suburban lifestyle and everyone wanting that white picket fence dream. The move from black and white to colour when Ben makes it to the beach was a clever choice as it emphasises this picturesque escapism for Ben. The stylistic editing for this short pushed this film to another level and helped to strengthen the theme of identity.
Pursuit of a Jigsaw highlights the realities of entrapment within a relationship. Sam Mizrahi-Powell turns the negative energy within a relationship into a physical monster. A great short film that makes the audience think about the dynamics within family life, partnership, or work colleagues and focuses on how we adapt ourselves in each situation to the point where a little bit of ourselves slowly breaks away each time until you are no longer yourself. A frightening yet thought provoking premise.