September 12, 2012 Diary of a Lost Girl, a tribute to miserable prostitutes everywhere
So, I’m not going to say outright that if you’ve seen Pandora’s Box that you’ve already seen Diary of a Lost Girl, but Lulu and Thymian are kind of like Laura Palmer and her cousin, Maddy. “I know that I’ve seen this girl before,” you’ll say to yourself, banging your forehead repeatedly against your Log Lady (TM) replica log. “I know it. I just know it!”
Like Pandora’s Box, Diary of a Lost Girl stars Louise Brooks and is directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst, and also like Pandora’s Box, the film explores women’s issues. First, these two movies draw attention to circumstances paired with social norms that could leave women totally screwed during the 20s. The main characters are both villanized and victimized because of their sexuality. But while in Pandora’s Box, Lulu’s sexuality becomes her downfall, in Diary of a Lost Girl, Thymian appears to have a growing sense of self and independence by the end of the movie.
Diary of a Lost Girl tells the classic tale of what happens when a young lady gets knocked up after being raped by a creepy turd of a pharmacist. Thymian’s family is all like, “Girl, you gotta marry you’s baby daddy,” and when Thymian is all like, “Uh. Dude, no,” they do the only logical thing: banish her to a vaguely homoerotic reform school for wayward girls. She makes friends, meets more creepy turds, and eventually escapes. From there, she lives the Jerri Blank mantra, “Go with what you know,” and takes up prostitution.
Diary of a Lost Girl seems quite a bit more sympathetic of its lead character than Pandora’s Box, since Thymian doesn’t become, you know, a murder victim. In a shack. On Christmas. But Thymian is also much more naive than Lulu, so perhaps that is her key to redemption.
The saddest thing about both of these already sad stories is their parallel to the actress’ life. Brooks was sexually abused as a child, and blamed for it by her mother, according to the actress. Playing roles like Lulu and Thymian doesn’t speak much to her own empowerment, but Brooks’ roles do bring issues of sexual assault, domination and punishment for female sexuality into the open – even if they were not intended to be viewed through a discerning feminist lens.
For me, the bottom line is that Brooks is incredible to watch in any movie. She will melt your heart, even while it’s breaking. I think that line may be from the back of a paperback novel. I also think that I don’t care.
Here’s what happens when Thymian first enters the reform school. Don’t worry; there is enough watery stew for everyone.
Diary of a Lost Girl, 1929
Starring: Louise Brooks, Fritz Rasp, André Roanne
Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Diary of a Lost Girl mix contains:
1. I’m on Fire, Electrelane
2. Run Chicken Run, Link Wray
3. A Certain Girl, Ernie K-Doe
4. Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries / Al Bowlly & the New Cumberland Dance Orchestra
5. Preacher’s Theme, Spindrift
6. Creepy Phone Calls, Tobacco
7. Plastic Cans, Underwater Tea Party
8. I Had it Coming / White Rabbits
9. Deep Purple, Guy Lombardo
10. She Came Before Me, The Almighty Defenders
11. Dirt, Iggy Pop
12. Black Eyes / Pola Negri
13. Reckoner, Radiohead
14. Sailor Song, Regina Speltpr
15. Random Firl, Late of the Pier
16. Livin’ in Misery / Johnny Otis
17. Kitty from Kansas City, Johnny Walker & His Rollickers
18. Pucker Up, Buttercup, Jr. Walker & the Allstars
19. Oh! Look at Me Now, Helen Forrest & Benny Goodman
20. Sullen Girl / Fiona Apple
21. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out, Sidney Bechet
22. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man after Midnight), ABBA
23. Creole Love Call, Adelaide Hall
24. Boogie Woogie Swing / Alberta Hunter
25. I’m Living in a Great Big Way / Benny Goodman
26. Soul of a Man, Blind Willie Johnson
27. Sluchaj Rytmu, Breakout
28. You’re Gonna Miss Me, 13th Floor Elevators
29. Block of Ice, Intelligence
30. L’ours / Tricot Machine
31. Kozmic Blues, Janis Joplin
32. Lindsay Brohan, Javelin
33. The Living End, Jesus & Mary Chain
34. Peach, Plum, Pear, Joanna Newsom
35. Bye, Bye, Blackbird, Joe Cocker