Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I watched The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari the other night and didn't much like it. Seeing cinema in the equivalent of its toddler stage has some charms but aside from the Expressionist sets I wasn't particularly interested.
Pandora's Box, on the other hand, is magnificent. If the silent film from last week was a toddler, this is a post-pubescent experimenting with its raw sexuality. Of course Pandora's box and Eve's apple are euphemisms for the extraordinary power of female sexuality--and men's helplessness to resist it--and in this film dancer Lulu opens her own box (ahem) and unleashes its awesome power to the detriment of quite a few testosterone-laden dunderheads. Weimar Berlin provides numerous targets, including a besotted young woman whose Sapphic crush goes unrequited. Unfortunately, like her mythic and Biblical predecessors Lulu must pay for her hotness.
Louise Brooks scintillates in the lead role. I could watch 2 hours of footage of Louise brushing her teeth and be perfectly contented; she is fine. The sets and the obvious improvements in the craft of cinema between Caligari and Pandora's Box--less than a decade apart--are extraordinary. Loved Pabst's work with mirrors and moody angles and smoke and strange sculptural backdrops. Luscious.