TheIn the late 1960s, Marissa Marcel was an actress on the verge of Hollywood success. Beautiful, young and talented, she was chosen out of thousands in an open casting call to star in an art-house director’s hypersexual adaptation of an 18th-century gothic horror novel. But the resulting film was never released – and neither was her next picture. Marissa disappeared for years, reappearing for a comeback role in the 1990s in another movie that never made it to theaters, before disappearing forever.

What happened to her and what was going on behind the scenes of her unusual life? Presented with an archive of footage, you have the option to comb through them all and try to figure them out. You’ll watch these three fictional films out of order, gradually stitching them together, moving between clips highlighting a face or object, which will then take you to another clip in which it appears . You can go back and take screenshots to remind you of important moments, and I was writing comments off-camera in a notebook. Immortality is a remarkable thing, a documentation of a fictional film career filled with period detail. You’ll believe you’re walking through real rushes from unreleased films, watching real actors, directors and crews work the magic that makes cinema.

And within this footage lies a mystery so elegant and compelling that it can naturally unfold from each individual player’s investigations – no matter which clips you see first, or which character arouses your suspicions, or where your prejudices lie. The clips—hours of stunningly compelling footage and behind-the-scenes footage of movies that never were—are like petals that gradually fall to reveal something stunning at the center. With that match-cutting magic, you can follow the seductive rose-petal trail of motifs—an apple, a snake, a key—through time, through three different films, tracing the connections between them.

Her pure craft, plannIng, is shocking. I can’t understand how it’s possible to design such a story in development, and yet this is the third time developer Sam Barlow has released it, following the excellent Her Story and Telling Lies. Consisting of three entire interactive movies, this game is the most ambitious of the three – and also the hardest to like, without fear of boring you with hours of seemingly inconsequential and reluctant video. help you along the way to discover its secrets. Cinema history buffs – like Barlow himself and his co-creators – will find plenty of references and details to marvel at in these fictional films, but if you’re just here for the mystery, then it takes a long time to begin to unfold.

Everyone involved in Immortality deserves praise for what’s emerged here, an independent cinephile universe – not least the performers, who all operate on at least two layers, actors playing actors playing roles. It’s impossible to delve into the game’s deeper themes without spoiling its gracefully unfolding layers, but there’s a lot to be said for the way movies are made: the human cost behind them, image and identity, youth and sexuality, the desire for create something. new and modern and the price of living forever on the screen.

I got lost in this archive, jumping from film to film, scene to scene, following themes, losing track of time. There are things I saw before the end credits rolled that others won’t have encountered, and mysteries that remain because I never discovered the relevant footage. But I didn’t want to go back to fill in the gaps because my experience with this game felt so personal; I walked away from it with a different story than the next person to play. It is confusing and mysterious, but also fascinating. I’ve never seen – or played – anything like it. It’s not a game that everyone will love, but I think it’s a game that everyone should play.

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