Saturday, July 10, 2021

Pandora's Box (1929) Directed by: Georg Wilhelm Pabst


This one of my favourite films and one of the best films of all time. If that sounds over the top, watch this and see for yourself. Even today, the actions and personality of the lead character, Lulu, is iconic and unmatched almost 100 years since the film's release. Playing the lead, Louise Brooks created something unique... an image and look that survives to this very day. She is more than just one of the most beautiful women of all time... her character is so full of life and ch charismatic is just pouts out of the screen into the viewers eyes. He haircut and look literally influenced the entire flapper era and Lulu's lust for life and new experiences is infectious. Look toward almost any advertisement, decoration almost anything from the flapper era and Brook's image is on it. 

Pabst and his team took Brook's natural talent and brought it to life with amazing photography. Every frame could be a still photo. This is German film so it goes the way many did and have gone since...right into a nightmarish world of horror and depression but it's so well done and you are so caught up in the main character's story you just can't stop watching as it all starts going from fun to tragedy. 

The plot is complicated, involving a devil may care young woman who is basically sleeping wiht almsot everyone else in the cast including her fiancĂ©, his son, an acrobat and some woman she knows. Somehow they mange to present this behaviour as freeing and endearing and beyond the prudishness of that and to be honest, this generation. Lulu isn't looking to hurt anyone... at least not at the start. 

It was inevitable that such a free spirit would get herself into trouble and boy does she ever get into trouble. Her fiancĂ© is not happy catching her with so many people during their wedding reception and orders her to kill herself. They struggle with a gun and he is accidentally killed, the door to the room opens and the guests see her holding the smoking gun with his head buried in crotch - one of the most memorable shots in cinema history. 

Her dead husband's son helps her escape to London to avoid going to prison for murder with some of her other associates but it all goes down hill from there, leading her into prostitution and a shocking ending that even for a film this old, if you have never seen it, you won't see it coming. 

Anyone I can get to watch this movie finds it shocking and intriguing. Louise Brooks is mesmerizing. Too many people are unfamiliar with silent cinema to know it was not all Keystone Cops but often poignant, complex and talking about subjects that even today people find controversial and scandalous. I cannot imagine something this wildly free being made today. 

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