Ceiling | Chicago Reader

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Vera Chytilova's fascinating 1962 film-school thesis is a protofeminist meditation on the fashion industry that draws on Chytilova's experience as a model. The storytelling is a bit clumsy, arbitrarily juxtaposing scenes of the protagonist posing at a photo shoot and awkwardly interacting with some young men in a cafe. But many of the images ring emotionally true, even those that have since become cliches—like the sequence in which she wanders the street at night staring at shop window mannequins. The film's best scene—of the model standing on the runway while the audience whirls vertiginously about—evokes the vacuous instability of a self that exists only in the gaze of others. In Czech with subtitles. 42 min.

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