Thursday, December 16, 2010

Covering up the smell of decay

First of all, squint a little bit and look at this photo.....

According to the Scented Salamander blog, this is the revamped ad for Guerlain's Idylle Eau de Toilette.  It features actress Nora Arzeneder looking "...much sultrier, khol-eyed and voluptuous...."

Maybe in this version.  But in Toulouse and Blagnac this image is posted upon billboards all over the place to gear up for the Christmas season.  Problem is, everytime I see it, even after a dozen or so times, I do a troubled double-take.  For you see, that wisp of hair over the cheek gives her face a sallow, sunken look almost blue/grey in color.  I always see a face in the early stages of putrefaction

Perhaps it's simply the colors and (lack of) clarity of the billboard image, I don't know.  Maybe it's cuz I've been watching The Walking Dead too much.

Has anyone else had this reaction, I wonder?  Can it be good advertising when your model has the head of a Zombie?  Am I mad?

Look again and squint.  Turn your head slightly.  Jump up and down.  You might see a face on Mars....


  1. she has a face? I hadn't noticed!

  2. Even with this photo, I get a glimpse of a skull-like, fleshless jaw and sunken cheeks. Her eyes and forehead are all right but that hair wisping about everywhere creates a striking optical illusion, especially while whizzing past the image on a roundabout.

    Maybe I'm just a lunatic. But then again, the theme of the beautiful body with a monstrous head isn't my invention....if you've ever seen Beastmaster (one of my favorite all-time films), you'll remember the hideous, leather-faced witches with rockin' super-vixen bodies.

    And Jon, if you haven't seen Beastmaster, I suggest you buy a six pack and head to the Blockbuster!

    And the Medusa, as I recall, is often supremely svelte, but with a monster's head.

    So, I think there may be a psychoanalytical interpretation for this: do I value a women only for their bodies, only to be repulsed by their minds?

  3. the outward face of reality is either monstrous or bewitching, we fall in love with the world or live in horror of it, but it is ourselves we see written in reality.
    I haven't seen Beastmaster. Byt you've been gone a long time. In this land there are no more video stores, and i'm not joking. The video store has gone the way of the telephone booth and the LP. Everyone gets netflix or watches on hulu. the world dies.

  4. I'm not sure the "or" is necessary....We can fall in love with the world and live in horror of it at the same time, no?

    The monstruous female....may be that classic "hate what we love" thing, maybe a kind of virgin/whore complex....

    I'm reminded of seeing a skeleton once in a meditation room. I asked why it was there. The monk answered it's a visual aid: when a monk sees a beautiful woman and have lusty thoughts, they imagine her decomposing and by the time she's crossed the room to them, she's become dust in the wind (hail Kansas!) This was Buddhist monk, btw.

    There's something life-denying and perverse in that yet also an elegance....

    OK, a load of clap-trap. But Beastmaster. This film is in many ways a load of rubbish. I saw it in the theater when it came out in 81 or 82, so I have a strong nostalgiac connection to it. I saw it again recently in Spain, where it was on DVD in a house we rented. A sign. I watched it with my kids and they loved it. So it occupies a special place in my heart now (forgive the cheesy line).

    I imagine if you saw it you might

    a Think my judgement very poor
    b Hate me for sending you after such codswallop
    c Appreciate why I love this film

    It is a bad film in many ways, but in others, it's a perfect nugget of a film, sword and sorcery, Conan, D&D, etc. It always evoked for me a real feeling of place, a hermetic world, and atmosphere. It's a guilty pleasure, to be sure, but I like it without irony.

    I can imagine I'll watch this film once a decade until I'm dead and enjoy it every time. Hopefully, that's at least four more times....


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