58. Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box) (1929) Director: G.W. Pabst
Pandora’s Box starts off scandalous and voyeuristic, then descends into a nightmare. By the time the film lands in the dirty, Jack the Ripper-haunted streets of London, the posh digs of the early scenes are but a distant memory. While it’s often said that Louise Brooks’s character, Lulu, leads the men who love her to ruin, director G.W. Pabst and his lead actress make it more complicated than that. Yes, things generally don’t turn out well for her lovers, but that’s often as much their fault as hers. Brooks has a lot of fun with the camera while giving her seductive performance, but there’s also a melancholy beneath the surface, suggesting Lulu is as much a victim of circumstance and the world we live in as anything else. She’s trying to play her way out of a losing hand, and has to go all-in.