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Pandora’s Box (1929)

Yosan Legaspi



There is no 1920s female more iconic than Louise Brooks. The sharp, sleek bob, the woeful doe eyes, ashen skin, expressive face… a true vision of an ethereal beauty.
A silent German film, Pandora’s Box is initially the tale of the seductress Lulu. However, Lulu’s character changes situations many times in the film, therefore the film is more about the plight of a woman as she changes social roles, as a femme fatale, cabaret dancer, wanted convict hapless victim. Louise Brooks conveyed such emotion and charisma, I felt like Pandora’s Box being a silent film was just the perfect form to showcase Brooks’ exquisite talent.
The visual style is amazing. The lighting is flawless, clearly evident in the stark lighting on Brooks’ face which gives her character a slightly eerie aura. Elements of German Expressionism are evident in the film, which becomes more obvious as the film progresses. German Expressionism is one of my favourite film styles, because not only do characters convey emotion through themselves, but the whole atmosphere of the sets embody the mood of the film.
The intensity of Lulu’s fall from grace in the film is heightened by the downfall of Brooks’ career when she returned from Europe to Hollywood. Studios gave her such a hardtime trying to conquer American cinema, that at the end, she just became a shadow of a legend until her death in 1985. For a screen siren whose love affairs included Charlie Chaplin, Louise Brooks was a goddess who continues to influence our post-modern world.