Assaf Bernstein

The idea of Look Away first came to me over 30 years ago. The notion that one’s reflection can have a life of its own scared me out of my mind. I knew it would make for an incredible film but I was not ready for it then. I didn’t have the skill or the maturity needed to tackle it - since I was just ten-years-old.

As I grew up, the idea of Look Away grew up inside of me, with me. When I went to NYU Film School, it was the first screenplay I wanted to write. But yet I couldn’t. I didn’t yet know how to grapple with the sheer power of the story I wanted to tell. Nor could I face the dark authentic place within my soul which had given birth to it.


So much in life is about timing. In 2011, my movie, The Debt, opened at #2 in the box office and in a matter of days a story I had written reached millions of people. I knew I could finally write what I had always wanted to, but never dared.


The result is Look Away, the story of a rejected teenage girl who finds solace in her own mirror image. Through the looking glass, she can escape the torments of high-school and her alienating parents. Her reflection offers a friend who listens to her, encourages her and guides her.


It is when Look Away’s dark ride almost spins out of control that the film’s real question gnaws its way to the foreground: Is the reflection a foreign entity or is the girl slowly losing her mind? When Maria talks to her reflection, is she actually talking to herself?


Look Away’s enigma is the core of its power. I believe this disconcerting duality exists within all of us. We desire what we fear. We are desperately drawn to the same things that repel us. We lock away our killer instincts yet we crave to see bloody feats on TV. Is it possible that we fear violence and cruelty because we recognize them within us? Do we fear the dark stranger or do we fear he is not a stranger at all? Maybe the reason we find it hard to face ourselves in the mirror is because we see all this in our reflection; the darkness that is part of us, the part that we rarely look at yet secretly know to be there.

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