Daily Projections, 12-2-2018: Pandora’s Box (1929)

Title: Pandora’s Box
Director: G.W. Pabst
Country of Origin: Germany
Year: 1929
Screening format: TV (TCM)
Setting: Home
First viewing? No

Notes: The film version of the two Frank Wedekind plays that also happen to form the basis of my favorite opera. Today, we remember Pandora’s Box for leading lady Louise Brooks and it is, possibly, her best picture.And, oh my, how modern she looks! No wonder she remains an enduring sex symbol 90 years on from Pandora’s Box. And Lulu is a sexy woman. But she’s more than raw sexuality. She’s Pandora, and she carries with her a world of trouble. Of course, it’s probably best not to dwell too long on the details here. Lulu leads a less than exemplary life by just about anyone’s standards. But her lifestyle is of less importance to the plot than is the general thrust of fate. For all Lulu does to fight her way to the top, her precipitous fall is inevitable from the outset. Pandora’s Box is as fatalistic as it sexy. Death and destruction follow Lulu wherever she goes no one can outrun Death forever. Lulu’s fate, then,is sealed before the overture is concluded. It is our job to simply sit back and watch as Pandora’s Box and all its contents are loosed upon Lulu and those who love her.

Pabst gets what is perhaps the performance of her life out of Louise Brooks here (though one could argue she’s better in Diary of a Lost Girl). We, in turn, get an icon.

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