Dorian Gray in the Mirror of the Yellow Press (1984)

  |  Drama

Dorian Gray in the Mirror of the Yellow Press (1984) Poster

Our organization will create a human being whom we can shape and manipulate according to our needs. Dorian Gray: young, rich and handsome. We will make him, seduce him and break him.


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17 September 2017 | mbs
| Interesting but i think the plot gets away from it.
This movie starts out interesting enough. While its not really a plot or story driven film, there is at least a single story line that you can follow throughout the film. This woman who runs a media empire is looking for a new person that she can turn into a superstar through her various newspapers and TV she can of course boost circulation worldwide (!!!) for her empire. She finds what she thinks she's looking for in this seemingly carefree playboy played by a woman who is playing a man. (Not much is really made of the fact that the playboy is actually a woman because in the film the character is clearly supposed to be a man, with the normal appetites of a man, To me personally I thought the playboy looked a little bit like David Bowie, which i think had to be intentional right?) The playboy at first delights in the attention lavished upon him but predictably soon chafes at it and tries to come up with a plan to ditch the ever present media attention.

Along the way the playboy falls in love with an opera singer, oh and also the media baron tries to tutor the playboy to be more cultured, she tries to show him all the things in various cultures the world over, including deviant culture! (I think the media baron is trying to get photos of the playboy doing some sordid things so she can run those photos in her newspapers and well sell more newspapers) So that's the basic story of this two and a half hour film in a nutshell. There's a lot of interludes along the way of this story being told--there's a good half hour where its nothing but an opera being performed on the beach complete with the waves rushing behind the opera singers onto the stage where everyone is performing. (I should note here that the stage is a beach here) And there's a good long-ish half hour where the media baron is taking our playboy on a tour of what was supposed to be high culture but ends up being a decadent descent into various scandalous deviant cultures--but and this is where the film gets away from me, apparently this is where the playboy starts to reveal that he's unhappy with the way things have been going for him, that he's suddenly not happy with the constant attention, and there's a bit of existentialist ennui happening here among a backdrop that reminds me a bit of something out of a Samuel Beckett play (specifically the play "Endgame") (Who am I if i'm not the constant object of the photographers' cameras?) Again its OK enough.

I think whether or not the film manages to hold your attention will depend on how long you're willing to ride with the imagery...since the imagery is really the chief selling point of the film. Its interesting to speculate that this film was made in 1984, before the ever present eye of the media really went into hyper speed in today's 24/7 culture, but its not necessarily interesting enough to warrant two and a half hours of your time or attention. So really your mileage for all of this will vary greatly. I thought it was OK, the time actually went by quickly enough, but i also didn't feel like i had just seen a particularly great movie at the end of it. I suppose its worth seeing overall if you're a fan of oddball German cinema.

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Plot Summary




Release Date:

9 March 1984


German, French

Country of Origin

West Germany

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