High Museum of Art: Films

Those Lips . . . by Linda Dubler
August 23, 2010, 4:47 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

By Linda Dubler

With Dali: The Late Work on view at the High, spotting the surreal in daily life seems to be an occupational hazard (or perk – depending upon your point of view.) Case in point — a recent trip through the galleries brought me to the vitrine where jewelry designed by the Divine One is on display. A glistening pin in the form of a pair of  lips, encrusted in rubies and parted to reveal gleaming pearls,  is at once seductive and sinister.

Dali’s bejeweled lips

It reminded me immediately of a movie I’d seen earlier this month for the first time  —  Leave Her To Heaven, starring Gene Tierney — shown as part of TCM’s “Summer Under the  Stars.” 

 Shot in Technicolor so saturated that everything on-screen seems intensified and on the verge of vibrating, it’s a tale of what  the Surrealists liked to call “amour fou,”  mad love. 

Gene Tierney’s Technicolor lips

What’s most remarkable about the script is that Tierney’s Ellen isn’t just a conventional noir femme fatale who plots a leading man’s downfall.  No, Ellen is a monster from the id, and the malignant power of her love destroys everyone who threatens her supremacy. Tierney’s mask-like beauty, her blue-green eyes, which are emphasized by both her costumes and the production design, and that glimmering enamelled mouth, shiny and dangerous, are haunting. In the reflected light of Dali, they seem positively surreal. 

Share your observations of surreal movie moments with us.

1 Comment so far
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Good day! Thanks for sharing. I will bookmark your website.

Comment by Shirley

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