Lulu (Louise Brooks)

During my three years at UC Berkeley I had a poster of Louise Brooks on my wall. There is something about that woman that no other actress had before or since. I think that’s why this film works as well as it does. It’s a rather simple plot about a woman who climbs the ladder of success on rungs made of men and women infatuated with her until her ways become her undoing. However, Brooks isn’t just playing Lulu. In many ways she is Lulu. She embodies innocence, sex, deviousness, and intelligence all wrapped up in an amazing body that with a single smile can melt you where you stand.

Although Brooks is the heart and soul of the film it is worth mentioning the work of director G.W. Pabst. The world he creates for Lulu is a play of light and shadow that makes the whole film look like you just opened your eyes in a city at night. The lights seem too bright and the objects and people almost magical or surreal. A bit like a circus or a theme park at night.

A final point about this film is that although it was made in 1929, the acting and storytelling was far ahead of it’s time and often is very subtle about points that other filmmakers would have beat into their audience. I can’t recommend this film enough. If you haven’t seen it already, prepare to fall in love with Lulu.