“The Mystery of Love is greater than the Mystery of Death.” Declares Salomé, the troubled daughter of a king. This film is elaborately costumed in Natacha Rambova’s design, and features illustrations by the legendary Aubrey Beardsley. In one moment, as Salomé imagines herself with the king’s white peacocks we see this vision complete and manifest, and the result is nothing short of beautiful. This is again epitomized in moments of her dancing beneath a veil, in a gorgeous motion. Rambova used material only from Maison Lewis of Paris, using genuine silver lamé on loincloths worn by the guards. The King’s retinue who are swathed in theatrically ostentatious apparel are nearly a caricature of themselves. His soothsayers wear enormous, surrealistic turbans, others with braided coils of hair pointing upwards, at the divinity that seems to have escaped this unfortunate Royal Family, and ultimately Salomé herself.
The 1923 film which echoes the biblical story of King Herod and the killing of John the Baptist was directed by Charles Bryant and written by Oscar Wilde, and poetic dialogue abounds. This film features a luxurious splendor of visual decoration, set design, and opulent costume. Salomé is showing at in the Museum of the Moving Image with Live music by Donald Sosin, and introduced by Pat Kirham.
The Fashion in Film Festival runs April 15-24th, and features a wide range of underground and decadently beautiful films from the 1890’s to the present century. The program was curated by Marketa Uhlirova, with Eugenia Paulicelli, Ronald Gregg, Stuart Comer, and Inga Fraser.
— Stevyn Llewellyn
Part of Fashion in Film Festival: Birds of Paradise
Sunday, April 24, 4:30 p.m. at the Museum of The Moving Image.
More information on the Birds of Paradise: Fashion in Film Festival can be seen on their website here.