Prix De Beauté Response

The balance between spectacle and narrative that has been discussed in class is definitely one worth discussing when it comes to “Prix de Beauté.”  There is without a doubt both a strong narrative in the film, as well as a large amount of spectacle and attraction.  What differs this film however from other films like perhaps “Steamboat Bill Jr.” is how connected the spectacle and narrative are on a tangable level.  One could argue that films like those of Keaton or Chaplin, were loose narratives meant to chain together the attraction of comedic bits.  In this case, the narrative of the film is literally about spectacle and so we have a stronger storyline that is filled with spectacle and seems to have more of an organic feel.  Unlike a film where you have a bit of narrative, then spectacle, then narrative, etc, this film merges the two together almost invisibly which is what makes the film so effective.
In terms of what makes this spectacle so entertaining, the theme of gender comes in to play and it is also worthwhile to take Hastle’s reading into consideration.  A simple, and probably accurate, description of the film could be “boys, c’mon down and see this attractive star strut her stuff!”  The film depicts rich and powerful men looking at beautiful women in expensive dresses.  In this sense the spectacle is very gendered in that it is putting the women on display.  It could definitely be argued that the storyline and the emotional struggles/decisions of the protagonist also send out messages to both men and women alike about gender roles in society.  In either case the issue of gender is being addressed.  The other way in which the spectacle of the film is defined is by the star Louise Brooks herself.  As read in Hastle’s piece, Brooks was a celebrity known for her looks, her possibly active sex life, and her ambiguous sexuality.  There is no doubt that when you put this type of a celebrity in a film where she models bathing suits and party dresses and has intimate moments with multiple male characters that this adds to the appeal of the film.  Not only is the attraction present in the diegesis of the film, but there is also a definite attraction in seeing a talked about celebrity further clarify (or possibly make more ambiguous) the image of who she is.