You've gotta love Louise Brooks. Even when the pacing is off and the serialised nature of the incidents drags, she's there, eyes twinkling, hair perfect with a knowing sense of wonder. Did she know she'd become an icon? Found this a bit difficult to fully engage with so held on to Brooks and Roberts (who comes close to stealing film). Worth it for the final, haunting segment which will stay with me.
The film making is beautiful, so much so that I don't think it needed intertitles, everything to be gleaned from the story was evident through the faces and the mis en scene. Unfortunately that story was much more painful for me, episodic bouts of humiliation that usually favour a deus ex machina approach.
"No pain, no death, no fear, no hate. No time, no now, no suffering. No touch, no loss, no hand, no sense. No wound, no waste, no lust, no fear (...)" Luces, sombras y gestos. La increíble sutileza de las emociones: tristeza, dolor, odio, impotencia, incomprensión. Esta última me parece la que impera, o mejor, aquella que domina a cada uno de los personajes. Nadie sabe nada de sí misma, de todo lo que trae consigo...
Maybe the greatest silent of all time, this is also a deeply reflexive film about viewing, death drives and a social milieu unable to tolerate feminity. Rarely has the feminine face been portrayed with such rich gamut of expressions and rarely has the cinematic image accomplished such heights of hermeneutic valence. As a scrutiny of the gaze-its murderous and redeeming potential-this remains unsurpassed. Divine !
Who'd have thought a silent film could beat opera at its own game? A series of tableaux descending into sexual hell, Pandora's Box remains immensely complex the closer you study the little gestures. Louise Brooks is vivacious, promiscuous, oblivious, and sometimes manipulative, and gathers a circle of admirers accordingly. But the spirit of her presence makes it impossible to see her as anything other than innocent.
She captivated a nation. They set her free from a wrongful conviction. A thoroughly modern Millie. But a woman cannot live by man's rules. She must have a downfall. Ms. Brooks was unconventional as well. Hollywood didn't like that, and so she got serious material overseas.
Louise Brooks is the goddess of silent cinema, no doubts about it. In her most iconic role she plays a powerful, sensual, devious gold digger. The camera loved her, and she brings incredible energy to the screen. The film is not lost on irony and ends perfectly with a Jack the Ripper cameo.
This is among the better silent films I have seen, only The Wind beats it perhaps (I must watch more silent films as they teach you that film is mostly a visual medium, something modern filmmakers tend to forget). Favourite scene: The salvation army marching through foggy London at Christmas.
Classical film which was overlooked by contemporaries. A powerful comment on the nature of sexuality and its impact on modern society. Expressive cinematography at its peak, especially close-ups and interior shots, which are beyond anything. And Lulu became a major influence on the feminist imagery.
If pressed to pick a film which truly represents many of cinema's key strengths as a medium, this would be it. Brooks is remarkable, but Pabst's directing is the real star. The air, as if by magic, pushing up Lulu's veil, the way human bodies block the visibility of a gunshot, smoke rising before us like a warm spirit. Fragmented bodies, abstracted hands, Pabst predicting Bresson's maneuvers. The ending is perfect.