Pandora's Box

I saw Pandora's Box when I was in high school. I was obsessed with Louise Brooks and was spending a lot of time researching her for a stupid reason. I was running a Call of Cthulhu role playing game, set in the 1920's. The only players were my guy friends, so I rolled up a female NPC to make things less of a sausage festival. I picked Louise Brooks to be the character, and I had enough pictures of her and personality that soon my friends were as obsessed with her as I was. I remember Tyler (who played the resident "archelologist" as he called it) was pretty much dating her in the game, and he came over one night all cracked out after watching Pandora's Box in film class. Such nerdy, happy memories.

So I'm always happy when I see Louise Brooks, since she reminds me of all of the fun, long nights with my friends. The movie was directed in 1929 by Georg Wilhelm Pabst. It's a German silent film, and although I really like to watch it, I understand that it's meh and off-putting to most people. It's also pretty long - 2 hours and 11 minutes was the version I watched tonight, so it takes a commitment to focus during it.



I really like this movie, though. Her acting is pretty unforgettable. Her character, as Ebert puts it, " is not a prostitute..." but "...we notice that she behaves an awfully lot like one" (The Great Movies, 347). I sort of love her character in this. She just wants whatever she wants - to party with anyone, to drink, to live. She feels real, and all of the relationships she has feel real as well. I'm sure there are a lot of negatives you could point out about a movie where a woman is overly sexual and then suffers for it, but it just feels right. It almost feels progressive. Ebert points out, as I noticed, that this film has the first, clearly lesbian character and relationship in it. I don't know, the whole thing is just really cool and has great atmosphere. It doesn't really feel like it's 1929, I guess. It feels like it could have been made in the 1970's or 80's or even now, because her character feels so interesting and modern.

If you are one of the people who like silent movies, you must check this out. It's really incredible. Brooks is beautiful and talented, and her character feels modern and almost progressive. It's a long movie, but worth watching and sticking with. To be honest, I know most people aren't fans of this style, though - so because of that, and because I'm tired and distracted, I'm keeping this short. I don't want to be too boring, and there is only so many times I can keep babbling on about silent films and why anyone should care.

Have any of you see Pandora's Box? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Links:
Ebert's Great Movie Essay on Pandora's Box

The Passion of Joan of Arc

On the Waterfront