by Rowena Howie June 06, 2018
This week we had a team outing to see Pandora's Box at BFI Southbank. Starring Louise Brooks, the original 'It Girl' this was a piece of vintage cinema we didn't want to miss.
The digitally restored version of Pandora's Box is running at BFI until 14th June. Book your tickets now. Click here.
Often nostalgia and romance fuels the desire to see popular big screen classics. Certainly, here at Revival, the music, the fashions and the style and charisma of the leading ladies is often what draws us to a film. However, sometimes it's the enigma that drives out desire to see a classic...
Silent movies from the 1920s are such a radical departure from our everyday move going experience, the lack of dialogue, the the depiction of women, the techniques used to stimulate the viewer. I find these movies fascinating in and of themselves.
Then there's Louise Brooks herself, the icon, the actress, the stories, the woman. So much was said about her in retrospect, even the movie Pandora's Box only ever received recognition in retrospect.
For all these reasons and more, each of us wanted to see this movie, to see Louise Brooks on the big screen and when better than with a live piano accompaniment to add dimension to this cinema experience. BFI are offering three or four special screenings during this run with a live score.
What did we think? Well, opinions were divided though on the whole everybody was pleased to have had the opportunity to see this and glad they made the effort.
Me (Rowena): Gosh, this movie is darker than I remember! This is no 40s Femme Fatale movie where the leading lady decides the fate of her victim. This is the 1920s and the fate of our 'heroine'(?) is always at the dictate of one man or the next. It's interesting the whole "no man can resist her charm", she enthralls, no man can resist ... yet the power is all their's whether they are trying to buy her, sell her, love her, kill her, save her!
Mary: An epic pice of cinematic storytelling. Surprisingly dark but helt together by Louse Brooks captivating screen presence and acting prowess. Some amazing 1920s dresses and accessories - Wow that headpiece in the early stage performance!!! - but also the costumes were spot on even in the depiction of them poor and destitute. Great to have the live music accompaniment as they might have had in the day.
Martine: It's easy to see why Louise Brooks is so respected, her performance in Pandora's Box outshone all the other actors. The film was very long though and perhaps when they restored it they could have edited it too? Her wedding dress was beautiful. Well cut and would work in a contemporary setting. Revival make that dress. (OK, Martine, noted ;-) ) Martine also waxed lyrical about the cocktail she had in the BFI Bar and Kitchen beforehand!
So, despite the length of this feature (which we all noted was a bit much!) we all agreed that this film is definitely worth seeing. Tell us you're thoughts!
Watch out for more cinema outings with Team Revival in our event listings. Click here.
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