(Review originally written at 3 September 2008)

In 1929 it of course also wasn't really something usual yet to have a female as the main lead of the movie. Lulu is an incredible character, played magnificently by Louise Brooks, who is also one of the most beautiful, pure looking, actress that ever lived. She had to endure lots of criticism from the Germans prior to the filming of this movie, purely because of the fact that she was an American who had gotten the main lead in a German movie but she silenced all of them with her performance.

She is a seductive and erotic character, who causes chaos around her by manipulating lots of man (and even a woman) with her sexuality. She is a naive, though yet strong individual, sexual independent woman, who seemed to be ahead of her time with things. Just as modern as her haircut. A real femme fatale so to speak and man, married or not, would do anything for her, even acts of violence.

As it always goes with characters like Lulu in movies, her character does not end up well. It's about the rise and eventual inevitable fall of the character. It causes the movie to take on some great, strong, dramatic proportions.

It above all is also a greatly shot movie, that is beautifully looking and till some extend also an example of German expressionism, particularly with some of its 'modern' sets, with some great and modern looking camera-work from Günther Krampf, who also worked on "Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens". The movie is real skilfully and strikingly directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst who also provided the movie with a lot of pace, which of course isn't always something usual to say for a silent movie from the '20's. With its just over 2 hours of running time it luckily also isn't among the longest silent movies. Some silent movies of similar proportions from the same time period (especially French productions) are closer to 4 hours rather than 2 hours long, which makes them needless to see hard to watch at one straight viewing.

As light as the movie begins, as dark it ends. The movie tends to become more and more dark and dramatic as it heads toward its ending. It perhaps makes the movie a bit heavy handed but on the other side is also a reason why this movie feels like such a dramatic epic, without ever taking on the running time of an overly dramatic silent picture.

A must-see, at least for the lovers of silent cinema.


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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