Mary Gaitskill

My Eager Eyes


Music: The Killers, “Mr. Brightside” (2003)

I don’t have much to say about this, I mostly just want to share it. The only thing I feel compelled to comment on is the music which, compared to the beauty of the film and the elemental purity of Louise Brooks‘ face and body, is very common, I’d even say cheap. But that is almost why I love it with this hyped-up mash-up of moments from “Pandora’s Box.” I especially love its line “open up my eager eyes” sung in Brandon Flowers‘ petulant, puerile, insisting voice — the voice of a boy, the voice of bedazzlement and darkness, sweets and poison.

I don’t attribute these qualities to Flowers because of particular artistry or even personality; they are qualities he embodies in a charming and perfectly ordinary way, and there is nothing more ordinary than rushing eagerness for the ideal romance of a dancing girl, of lambent eyes, sweet looks and silly costumes, of tenderly cupped hands opening to release Pandora’s delicious vortex — betrayal, laughter, music, dancing, ecstasy, betrayal and back again over and over… until finally the movement goes too far out on the spectrum and tips into death. The shallow joy of the music holds in it a flashing glimpse of the ideal that is full-blown (briefly) in Lulu’s every move and in her various, feral eyes, as that ideal holds its opposite.

How ardently and uncomprehendingly shallow human feeling holds that inhuman ideal; the knife goes in, the gun goes off, the light goes out, and slowly, reluctantly, yet with relief — movement stops.

– Mary Gaitskill

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Mary Gaitskill is the author of the novels: "Veronica," "Two Girls, Fat and Thin," and "The Mare." She has also written three books of stories: "Bad Behavior," "Because They Wanted To," and "Don't Cry," and a book of essays, entitled "Somebody with a Little Hammer." More Mary Gaitskill here.