Saturday, February 27, 2010

Image from PRIX DE BEAUTÉ (1930)

There are many striking images of Louise Brooks in this movie -- happy, serious and tragic -- but I found the simple yet profound introspection of this one particularly striking. This movie was made on the cusp on sound (a silent version also exists), and it may be the movies' earliest attempt to depict the private relationship between an individual and their music. (The film could actually be described as a chronicle of the ironic role played by a favorite song in a woman's short life.) I was very moved by this camera composition, shot by the great Rudolph Maté, and by the actress's willingness to be this naturalistic and intimate with the camera when most other women in her profession were still striking melodramatic poses. This shot actually reminds me of certain similar moments involving Soledad Miranda in EUGENIE DE SADE and Thora Birch in GHOST WORLD. A full review is forthcoming in VIDEO WATCHDOG #156; available on Kino on Video, $29.95.

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