Industrial beauty

This short video is making the rounds, but it really is a terrific film.

When we see the glamorous beauty portrayed in ads and movies, it’s easy to forget what a construction it is. This industrial beauty is a thing built by many skilled artisans across a significant period of time. As long as we recognize this fact, we don’t have to fall into the trap of identifying it overmuch with the person underneath, the matrix on which it was constructed. It reminds me of those outrageous flower-covered floats on the Tournament of Roses Parade. We can admire the craft of it while acknowledging that it is wholly artificial.

There is an interesting parallel with the makeup required for movies in which the characters are grotesque or monstrous. There are plenty of articles about how this or that actor had to sit for four hours of makeup before each shoot as rubbery tentacles and prosthetic cheekbones were glued into place. It’s understood that ugliness is a movie-industry construct. But when it comes to beauty, we prefer to believe the fiction. How disappointing it is to learn that the man who plays Romeo isn’t really in love with the woman who plays Juliet.

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