THERE’S A DEEP REFLECTION ABOUT BEAUTY IN THE CENTER OF THE EXPERIENTIAL MOVIE “THE NEON DEMON”. IN PARTICULAR ABOUT THE CHARM AND THE ENVY THAT BEAUTY CREATES.
In The Neon Demon the audience take an oneiric trip in Jesse’s world full of fears and desires, portrayed by Elle Fanning, a delicate as beautiful girl who has still to face a sexual growth in a world attracted by her innocent beauty.
What kind of beauty are we talking about? A fresh, young, pure beauty, that other models envy to her.
All people around her are attracted by her spirit and during all the movie we can feel an agonizing threat towards Jess. But is she really that innocent? The little Lolita keeps on defining herself as “dangerous”. She’s like a poison that invades the world and eats through it.
The only characters that are immune to her charm are the models Gigi and Sarah, obsessed by the desire to possess her spirit. The women along with Ruby, the make-up artist, symbolize the empty and superficial stereotypes of the fashion world.
This reflection about beauty its also acknowledged through the cinematographic language: the static sequences point out the coldness and the emptiness hiding behind beauty.
Nicholas Winding Refn is for sure one of the most intriguing film director of our century, also well aware that nowadays imagines can “speak” to the audience in a more immediate. His sequences are slow, emphasized by a harmonious violence, the lack of sound and a relevant lighting game.
The scene where the photographer took his first photos of Jesse is full of silence: we can hear just the sound of a paintbrush and the click of the camera. The girl stands naked, because every kind object would tarnish her purity. We can only see a white wall and the girl, while the photographer paints her body in gold. His hands touch her body in an erotic way, which never explodes, because he doesn’t want to possess her, but venerate her as a unique thing. Everything turn dark and the flash of the camera it’s the only thing illuminating Jesse’s body.
The most controversial movie at Cannes Film Festival in 2016, The Neon Demon mark a turning point in Nicolas Winding Refn’s opera: a poetry, that of the Danish filmmaker, constantly in between the purse of beauty and of horror fascination.
Text by Giulia Lopopolo