“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
— Carl Jung
What happens when we drop our masks of identity and return to our human core?
Lubomir Arsov’s groundbreaking short film IN-SHADOW: A Modern Odyssey poses this question through an epic quest into the darkness of Western civilization.
At a mere 13 minutes long, this gorgeously illustrated film embarks on a journey of exploration into the human psyche, bringing society’s dark underbelly to the surface.
If a purpose of art is to “disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed,” as Cesar Cruz once observed, this film is an undeniable masterpiece.
The world painted by IN-SHADOW is somewhat akin to the “Upside-Down” in Netflix’s Stranger Things: structurally, everything appears the same as it does in everyday reality, but with a dark twist.
News anchors, politicians, and celebrities, who are normally so groomed and beautiful, warp into grotesque caricatures. The smiles on everyday people are revealed to be masks that cover faces twisted in fear and agony. The world of jobs and careers begins to take on the aesthetic of a prison as people sell their lives for big houses, fancy cars, and the latest hot techno-gadget.
Arsov leaves no stone unturned in his critical depiction of society. His ability to capture complex socio-political truths in symbols and images is truly breathtaking.
IN-SHADOW takes on a wide range of issues, from corporate lobbying to the drug war; racial tensions to rape culture; factory farming to neo-colonialism; the military-industrial complex to the corruption of government; from media manipulation to the disconnect and drudgery experienced by everyday people.
IN-SHADOW removes the masks people wear to reveal the deeper truth at the heart of Western society’s deepest issues: at our core, we are all human. We have complex emotional and psychological needs that we push to the side to assimilate to a faceless system that caters to a profit-obsessed, unlimited-growth economy.
The result is widespread alienation and depression, but to show that suffering is a social taboo. In an effort to fit in with the fictional narrative we have created for our society, everyone struggles to show a happy face to the rest of the world.
Yet, in this culture, one wonders whether anyone can become truly happy until they remove the masks, dive into their unconscious, and mine deep to their inner core: one of love, creativity, and connection to all of life and the universe.
Arsov’s phenomenal short film is so full of symbolism and iconic imagery that it merits several views. You might leave with more questions than you came with. For example: To what extent are we being manipulated on a mass scale? How do we unearth social and cultural roots that stretch back thousands of years? And more importantly, how do we remove these masks for ourselves and tap this inner wellspring of peace, connection, and creativity?
Discovering the shadow is only the beginning. The rest is an unfathomable journey of epic proportions that each individual must undertake for themselves. Peer into the mirror of our collective darkness, but be warned: self-reflection is one of the most difficult tasks we all face. However, as the film’s conclusion suggests, the rewards of self-development are truly wondrous for those who dare the initial glance into the shadow mirror.
Watch IN-SHADOW, a Truly Genius Work of Art
I’ve tried to describe the film for you, but truthfully, there are no words. You simply must watch it. It’s an honor to be able to share this masterwork with all of you:
If you appreciated the film…
Definitely visit the beautiful and provocative IN-SHADOW website and consider buying prints to support Lubomir Arsov’s visionary filmmaking.
The “shadow”—referring to the parts of ourselves we reject, repress, and don’t want to look at—is a term originally coined by Carl Jung, the brilliant Swiss psychotherapist. It’s one of the most important concepts to understand if you truly wish to know yourself, grow, and make a difference in the world.
We’ve explored Jung, the shadow, and even the shadows of “spiritual” people in substantial depth on HighExistence.
by Jack E Othon
Jack E Othon is the creator of the blog, Radically Enlightened, which is dedicated to expanding global consciousness. She owns an art and clothing company, Dark Whim Designs, with her siblings, Joe and Shane. She spends most of her free time in the Colorado mountains, communing with the forest spirits and making love to nature gods. Find her on Instagram to follow her travels, hiking adventures, and poetic exploits. You can also friend her on Facebook, but don’t expect anything serious to come of that—she is a silly thing.