Following the erotic horror film X, A24 re-teams with director Ti West to present Pearl, a prequel origin story that sheds light on the deeply repressed and troubled character of Pearl (also written by Mia Gott). with the West).
It’s a wonderful feat to be able to stream two films so closely together; they interact with each other on many levels. We won’t spoil X, but Goth is featured prominently in both films. In Pearl, she plays the title character and looks much younger than the older woman seen in X. It’s 1918, not 1979, and Pearl’s Texas farm, like the rest of the world, is suffering the effects of World War I and the Spanish flu epidemic. But Pearl is focused on none of these as she focuses on her dream of becoming a famous dancer.
West’s team reportedly had just three and a half weeks to transform the same set into an entirely new vision – a landscape that existed 60 years before the events of X. The result is the same farmhouse we saw in the first movie. horror franchise. But it’s newer and cleaner – accentuated by the use of bright tech color, evoking a Wizard of Oz romanticization of the bleak environment.
Pearl is mainly about repression and the dangers of romanticization – the denial of reality in favor of a falsified “perfection”. While war and pandemics ravage the world, Pearl’s beloved motion picture has nothing to do with such harsh realities. He falls in love with images of dancing showgirls. As he dreams of being part of something similar, he observes their dance troupe: “There is no room for even the slightest lack of precision.”
Casting directors prefer someone “more American”, “more blonde”. And certainly not one with Pearl’s forbidden desires for a woman in this era.
While Pearl’s favorite movie may reveal her desire to be normal (ie perfect), the film shown to her by a handsome projectionist (David Corenswet) reveals her truest and darkest impulses. It’s pornography – overtly, followed by violence – and the outward depiction of such hidden desires is thrilling for Pearl, who is forced to repress those same desires within herself due to the strict upbringing and harsh treatment of her pious mother (Tandi Wright). rules for women in this period.
But this perfection cannot last forever, and Pearl is a terrifying revelation of the ways in which people can collapse when repressed for too long. In one scene, Pearl holds a long, shaky smile (reminiscent of Jocelyn DeBoer’s wavering smile in Greener Grass’ perfect surroundings). Tired of maintaining a perfect facade, but still claims.
Goth walks a fine line with her character between Disney princess and villain, innocent Dorothy and evil witch. If you want to understand the psychology of most Disney villain characters, really skip all the remakes and watch Pearl instead. West and Goth beautifully translate the chilling dichotomy between good and evil, with a few nods to the Wizard of Oz, as well as a general nod to the saccharine quality of older Disney films.
Pearl’s candid psychological journey won’t appeal to everyone. It’s still a smash, to be sure, but the film is less about blood and horror than about Pearl’s personal journey. Unfortunately, more gruesome acts would do well to complete Pearl’s descent into madness.
Still, the way the camera moves away from the subjects as they die perhaps speaks more to Pearl’s subjects. It’s a terrible world we live in. But when we paint everything in technicolor – and look a little further, it’s less noticeable.