Sunday, July 30, 2017

#600: Pandora's Box

Directed by: G.W. PABST
1929, TSPDT Rank #262

Louise Brooks is an American anomaly. A girl from Kansas who somehow made her way to Berlin to become a timeless symbol of feminine allure and beauty. She is truly radiant in this film - although she seems to represent the prototypical femme fatale in the collective subconscious, the character of Lulu is really like a ray of light in a world full of chaos and ugliness. Everyone else leads the way to their own demise, all blaming her on their way down. This film is full of Greek tragedy, but is Lulu really a modern-day Pandora, or just a victim of her own otherworldly beauty? That's up to the viewer to decide. Overall, this film is a masterpiece of light and shadow, beauty and darkness - made right at the peak of the silent era, when all the possibilities of the medium were finally being realized. Watching this film unfold, it seems like such a shame to think that this era would be over so suddenly, and with it, Brooks' career. Her moment of stardom was just beginning, and like so many other silent stars, she never really recovered from the transition to sound. As a result, she remains etched upon film history as a beautiful anomaly, a blinding ray of light. And this film, as a whole, is a flickering memory of a time when everything came together for one magnificent moment.

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