Sunset Boulevard at 70: We are Norma Desmond now. movie

Heyn After its release in August 1950, Sunset Boulevard punched its own industry in the face. Showbiz royalty, usually enclosed in an echo chamber of self-congratulation, is stirred in a rage. At a star-studded private screening on the eve of the film’s debut, MGM studio Mogul Louis B. Mayer slammed the director of the film’s Austrian origin, Billy Wilder: “You faced your own nest. You must be kicked out of this country, starred and feathered, the foreign son of a bitch! Wilder’s response: “Why don’t you fuck yourself?”

However, the audience created an uproar in theaters. Seriously released the same year, Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s All About Eve – a ruthless dissection of the American theater world – became a historical statement on the dangers of celebrity culture. But 70 years later, at a time when visibility is portrayed as a tool of social change, the film is no longer merely a sign of Hollywood arrogance but a complete cultural morality that values ​​are “being seen”.

Every domino of the plot falls in the direction of the on-ringer-ringed final spectacle. Norma Desmond shoots Joe Gillis in a flame of jealousy. Now engulfed in cinematic confusion, she conquers her grand staircase, the news press Agog, and ecstatically conscience: “All is well, Mr. Demil. I’m ready for my closeup. “Replace” Mr. Zuckerberg “and she will remain at home in the Instagram era.

Sunset Boulevard seems strangely tailed to reduce our contemporary culture. In some ways, Norma, like Judy Garland or Marilyn Monroe, is a tiring but resilient icon of femininity who succumbed to the studio system. We learn that she was influenced by the operatives and was filled with barbiturates in her early days, then cast her out of the nymph-like beauty. Twenty-first-century Hollywood, meanwhile, gives a severe blow to not having female actors named Meryl Streep to graze around the age of 40.

Sunset Boulevard also reflects our political change. In a tribal era, Norma Desmond dyed the enemy in color for both-party factions. For liberals, he is a symbol of ultra-rich self-delusion. Surrounded in privilege, she tells herself a qualifying success story. Her self-made triumph is conceived by an information silo that she does not even know she is trapped in. Her smoothie Annabler – then director, ex-husband, and now butler, Max von Herring – shows her with a fake fan. , Though there is a possibility of an echo appearing under the Fox News banner. “There would be no Paramount Studio without me,” she declares reliably, exempt from walking around in a swarm of worker bees. When Gillis describes her as a hai – (“you were big”), she blinks back, “I’m big.” This is a picture that is cut short, capturing the “toxic mixture of arrogance, nostalgia and venom that feeds into the cries of the MAGA war. President Trump telegraphed in February when he was a nativist against multicultural modernism.” Gone was announced in Harnag with Wind and Sunset Boulevard, which represents the popularity of Parcit.

Turning our social media era ... Nora surrounded journalists

‘I’m big. These are pictures that are small … ‘Norma surrounded reporters Photo: Ronald Grant

In contrast, for conservatives, Norma is trauma-broadcasting, victim-centered hysteric. Armed with irony and with snobbish entitlements, she pushes for her role with hardcore earnings. Oscar Wilde once observed that “all evil poetry springs from real emotion”, and Norma’s belief in her screenplay is, well, genuine. Meanwhile, whenever she finds Gillis distracting, she screams about his deceptive nerves, guilt-riddled to clear up his misgivings. It is a presenter of poetry from the perspective of the authority of modern dramatics that flourish in the culture of complaint. In 1950 Gwyneth Paltrow’s brand guru was at work, calling Norma’s wastage “self-care”.

In fairness, however, all that Norma has in common is the gaze of the crowd she created. She feasts on the adoration of others and “leaves no one to star”. Yet she is, Gillis observes, “still waving proudly for a parade that passed by him.” This is the real tragedy that the film explores – not the damaging effects of aging or wealth, but the self-surrender that comes from living as a spectacle. When fans stop pecking, his loneliness forces him to invent phantasmic substitutions, so that his mental survival is ultimately dependent on his paranoia.

A chase opens here between 1950 and 2020. Sunset Boulevard indicates fame. In contrast, 21st century popular culture enhances the quality of maximum visibility. So widely shared is the belief that it passes as a general trend: “being seen” constitutes both individual medical and social justice essentials. “So, I want you to see that I see you,” wrote Hillary Clinton in the heat of the 2016 campaign, as if rescuing supporters from the black fate of oblivion. Meanwhile, the largest organizations advocating for LGBTQ acceptance have made media visibility and identity the basis of social progress.

And there is no doubt that the politics of visibility frees the strip from bias. But Sunset Boulevard forces us to consider the cost of what we need to see – namely, the unquenchable thirst for external recognition that feasts beneath the culture of exhibitionism.

Featuring Gloria Swanson as Norsa Desmond, a poster for Sunset Bowl, William Gillen as Nancy Olson and William Holden as Betty Shaffer.

Featuring Gloria Swanson as Norsa Desmond, a poster for Sunset Bowl, William Gillen as Nancy Olson and William Holden as Betty Shaffer. Photo: Allstar / Paramount Pictures

The last decades of the 20th century displayed the qualities of celebrity. The crucified rebel-to-royalty of Michael Jackson’s infant, rhinoplastid, and blanched personality was Princess Diana, a global icon of fame and manufactured. In the New Century augusts and teens, Lindsay Lohan slid down the rock, but survived; Amy Winehouse did not

But amidst this wreck, the celebrity status did not deteriorate; Instead, it became the ambition of the average person. Social media allows anyone and everyone to be viewed digitally. Influencer spread. YouTube stars open their bedroom to the public. Clicks, likes and retweets turned into a cryptocurrency. Lady Gaga’s mega hit Paparazzi catches the songwriter from her debut studio album The Fame: Sure, fame shatters you, but it gives flexibility and gives the insult a platform. By bearing their wounds for all to see, Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato announced that naked visibility had accepted self-esteem and belonging as a basis for community. The ideal of self-performance went viral.

And this is the most unnecessary revelation of seeing Sunset Boulevard in 2020: Is Norma Desmond the one who defines her popular culture. How is that for an influencer?

Still, it is worth remembering that the “greatest star of them all” of the studio era was an outrageous freak that returned him to the public’s frenzied frenzy. After exiting the industry in 1941, Greta Garbo withdrew her privacy and never relinquished it again. In a strange way, the occult heroine of Sunset Boulevard is the one who never stays in one frame. In 1948, Wilder invited Garbo to his home at 704 North Beverly Drive for a drink. His plan was to entice him to accept the lead part in his fetal film. He made the offer, but did not respond.

Despite Wilder’s Bollywood film, it was Garbo who faced the flaws of fame afresh, giving the most authentic “Fuck yourself”.


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